Christ Healing the Sick (The Hundred Guilder Print)

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669)
circa 1649; early 18th century impression
Etching, engraving and drypoint
Sheet : 11 1/8 x 15 5/8 in. (28.26 x 39.69 cm)
Credit Line
The Sarah and Grace Collection
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This print conflates several stories from the Gospel of Matthew in which Christ ministers to the sick, debates the Pharisees on points of religious law, exhorts a wealthy young man to give up his possessions, and declares that children belong to the kingdom of heaven. It has long been recognized as one of Rembrandt’s masterworks for the complexity of its visual narrative, for the variety of facial expressions and bodily gestures evident in the crowd of figures around Christ, and for the dramatic play of light and dark passages throughout the composition. Some scholars think that Rembrandt did not sell this print during his life time, and that he only gave impressions to close friends and important patrons. The relative rarity of the print drove up its value to the point where an impression once sold for one hundred guilders, a very high price for a print and the equivalent of about four months wages for an average worker at the time. After Rembrandt’s death, the plate passed through the hands of various publishers who re-printed and sold the image to capitalize on its fame. In 1776, the original plate was acquired by a British soldier named Captain William Baillie, who re-engraved the lines, pulled one hundred impressions from the re-worked plate, and then cut the plate into four pieces so that it could not be printed in its entirety again. This impression probably dates to the first half of the 18 th century and represents the final state of the plate before it was re-worked by Captain Baillie.

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