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This print of a Rembrandt etching is believed to have been produced in 1626, with one of the copies now residing in the collection of The British Museum, London, UK.
That institution has managed to acquire a good number of original prints from this artist's career and many come from this same period of the mid to late 1620s, which was when Rembrandt was spending considerable time in perfecting his understanding of this artistic discipline. The process of turning a drawing or other artwork into a form suitable for printing was very foreign to him initially, but he soon grasped the basics with help from specialist advice. Before too long he was inserting his own creative ideas upon the process and forging a system which was very much his own. Interestingly, he started to avoid giving away information about his etching process once he became more confident and wanted to avoid others making use of his own discoveries.
This composition features a view through dense woods, with the Holy Family feeding Christ. They are centered around a prominent tree with a tower reaching up into the background. The surrounding trees help to frame the figures centrally. Some of the detail is hard to pick out because the prints are not as clear as perhaps they once were, but also the artist was still perfecting his methods at this time. We do know that Mary is holding the baby in her arms, with its legs leaning on her lap. She holds out a spoon of food for him, whilst Joseph looks on whilst preparing the fire for dinner. There are additional elements around them which provide clues as to his own occupation as a carpenter, and an animal sits behind with whom they would use for transporting their possessions.
The print displayed here is around 20cm in height and 16cm wide, which is entirely what one would expect for a single paper artwork. Rembrandt developed his techniques over time and would also produce different sets of prints from the same design, often tweaking it here and there to perfect the final look. He would then label each set depending on the iteration so that one can understand the changes that he made by comparing the different versions. Etchings would become the main way in which this artist achieved fame during his own lifetime and helped massively in promoting his career across wider boundaries than would be possible with his more traditional oil paintings.