At a recent exhibition of Rembrandt’s printmaking techniques I was struck by the similarities between Etching, Bromoil and Paper Negative printing. All show the hand of the artist. All share a certain sensibility.

In this self-portrait, Rembrandt would have been looking at a mirror. The print shows three techniques, etching, drypoint and engraving. The first state print does not have the trees and buildings outside the window; these have been added into the copper plate in arriving at the fourth state. In a similar way, clouds, mountain backgrounds and the like can be added in by the Bromoilist.

Rembrandt, Self-portrait etching at a Window, 1648. Etching and drypoint with some engraving on laid paper (fourth state)

This sensitive Bromoil portrait by Erik Hattrem shares a similar sensibility. Etching and drypoint lines are replaced by dots, but the feel is very similar.

© Erik Hattrem
 Portrait of the Norwegian painter Andreas Jacobsen.

The second etching example is also by Rembrandt, a landscape said to refer to the three crosses and the Crucifixion. The figure on the hill to the right is said to be of Rembrandt sketching the scene.

Rembrandt, Three Trees, 1643. Etching, engraving and drypoint on laid paper

For me, this has a similar feel to a print from a paper negative printed by Andrew Sanderson:

© Tony Cearns, Upper reaches of the Clyde, SW Scotland. Printed by Andrew Sanderson from a Paper Negative

The foregoing is all fairly obvious. These similarities have often been commented on. But standing face to face with some of the finest Rembrandt’s etchings held by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, brought it home to me.

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