Rembrandt's shadow

England and the Black Art
18 September 2016 – 8 January 2017

For the first time in almost 100 years, the Prints and Drawings Department presents a selection from its outstanding holdings of mezzotint sheets in dialogue with etchings by Rembrandt, some of which have never been shown before.

The work of Rembrandt (1606 - 1669) is of central importance for the development of English art in the 18th century.
The expressive light direction of his paintings and especially the radical chiaroscuro of his etchings were compared to the later emerging mezzotint, which became the English printing technique par excellence ("English manner").

Also called "black art" because of its strong light-dark contrasts, mezzotint had something magical, dark about it from the beginning. "Rembrandt's Shadow" thus has both a compositional and a temporal component: the virtuoso chiaroscuro of his art and its after-effects in 18th-century England.