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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Here we discuss both the printing process used by Rembrandt in order to produce copies of his etchings, but also the growing interest from the public in buying their own print reproductions of his original paintings and drawings.

Printmaking Techniques of Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

From an early age, Rembrandt would study the engravings and woodcuts of a number of different North European artists (predominantly Dutch, Belgian and German), including Albrecht Durer who was based in Nuremburg, around a century earlier. Whilst examining and understanding their techniques, he also desired to add his own innovations on top, going to considerable lengths of experimentation and hard work in order to achieve prints that were as near to perfection as he could get. He would work with different techniques in conjunction with each other, and on other occasions make use of just one alone. These disciplines included drypoint, etching and engraving, all of which were commonly used within Northern Europe during the 16th and 17th century. He would not have been short of colleagues able to guide him as he sought instruction on these new artistic tools in his armoury. Even the greatest artists have been well aware of their failings or lack of experience in certain areas and were more than happy to draw on inspiration and advice from specialists in those topics.

It was common during this period for artists to use the printmaking methods as a way of producing copies of their best paintings and then distributing their creations across Europe. Rembrandt saw things differently, he wanted to use these new techniques entirely independently and produce the best results from them that he could, rather than just promoting his contributions from other mediums. As mentioned, this would take experimentation and hard work in order to master them and also to understand which parts of his existing style best suited them. He was already highly skilled in portraiture as well as landscape and seascape art, but those made use of large palettes of colour and endless detail which may not be possible within his printed engravings. As a sign of the considerable challenge that lied ahead, we could use the example of Pieter Bruegel the Elder who took the easier route of employing others to create engravings from his sketched designs, and then handing those over again to professional printmakers. Rembrandt's obsessive nature would not have been able to do this, and the closest he could get was to consult others on how best he could complete these processes himself.

A further point of interest that helps to underline Rembrandt's uniqueness was that he would consistently review his prints and then further amendments to the raw elements before then printing further series of copies. He might even produce early prints as a way of tracking his progress and ensuring that his work was heading in the right direction, rather than waiting until the very end and hoping that the final print would be entirely as intended. Rembrandt would then to produce his etchings upon the surfaces of copper plates which was a particularly slow and intricate task. Intermediary prints would offer him the opportunity of reviewing his work at several stages as the work developed. He was an extravagant individual who would aim for perfection, almost regardless of the costs of materials involved and this helped him to achieve such a high level of work during his career, whilst also partly explaining how he would end up in serious financial problems later in life.

Rembrandt Art Print Reproductions for your Home

One of the true artistic geniuses, Rembrandt art prints will add style and elegance to your home as an art print reproduction. Despite the many years that have passed since the Dutch Golden Age, there are still millions around the world who adore his work and desire to have copies of it within their own homes. Art books can only go so far, even with the larger publications currently available with fold-out specials. Put simply, a well chosen print can add some real class to your home and impress your guests, as well as providing a talking point for some. With many hundreds of artworks remaining from his career, there is plenty to choose from and with copyright not applicable to his career anymore, many retailers are able to offer a truly comprehensive selection from his major works. There are many options to consider when choosing one, and having purchased many ourselves, we have attempted to help you in the decision making process. We do make small commissions from and Amazon for any purchases that you make, but most information found here is fairly generic and applies regardless of where you choose to buy your Rembrandt prints from.

Shipping costs must be considered as an extra cost which may greatily impact your budget. Always try to order from companies based in your own country to avoid additional taxes too. Those in the likes of the UK or US should have a good selection of professional sellers available and so the choice should be easier. Those looking for framed prints will normally incur increased shipping bills as well, because of the extra weight, so again consider all of these factors if you have a specific price that you do not want to go beyond. Many offer new customers considerable discounts, so always take a look for discount codes or vouchers prior to making the actual transaction. It may also be wise to order several together as this might reduce your overall spend on handling costs, if you were already thinking about buying a number of different pieces. Holding multiple artworks will allow you to rotate them around your house from time to time, which is a great way of keeping your rooms looking fresh and interesting. As a final point, frames and plastic or glass covers over the artwork will have the added benefit of protecting them from damage, be it from the sun or accidental incidents within the home.

This master ranks as one of the most reproduced of all artists, particularly of those from before the 20th century. Alongside the likes of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, his work can be found in a multitude of forms in homes and offices all across the world. There are almost a thousand artworks attributed to Rembrandt from a prolific career, giving plenty of choice for his followers. He used many different mediums during his career though oil painting and drawings are by far his two most significant areas of output. There are several retailers who dominate the market in art reproductions and will tend to offer a huge supply of Rembrandt's work. Framed art prints with inlay cards tend to finish artworks of this style the best. Canvas prints, stretched across a frame are most suited to modern artists like Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque or Gustav Klimt. Colour will often be as much a consideration as artist or artwork, with some seeing these choices as more about decoration rather than celebrating art history.

Return of the Prodigal Son is typically Rembrandt's most reproduced painting, with several shoulder-length portraits also popular choices. His traditional style is not always suited to contemporary homes, but the beauty of his work will always impress fans of the masters. Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a stunning seascape which is also commonly reproduced such is the popularity of these scenes generally. His landscape, The Mill, is also regarded as one of his best works. Rembrandt would use a relatively darkly-lit style in many of his portraits, similar to Caravaggio, and as such you will need to consider the correct room for where to add his paintings. Always remember, that some of these original paintings are very large indeed, and some of the artist's detail may not be visible once a reproduction is reduced down to a much smaller size. You may therefore choose a different artwork or increase the size of print that you order. There are also some cropped options available, particularly for famous artists such as Rembrandt, where you might be able to pick out a particular part of a painting and enjoy it in zoomed-in detail.

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