Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves: The Three Crosses
Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)
Drypoint printed on vellum
Plate: 15 x 17 1/4 in. (38.1 x 43.8 cm)
Sheet: 15 1/8 x 17 7/16 in. (38.4 x 44.3 cm)
Mount: 22 x 28 in. (55.9 x 71.1 cm)
Gift of Felix M. Warburg and his family, 1941
Not on view
The Three Crosses, one of Rembrandt's finest works in any medium, represents the culmination of his virtuosity as a printmaker. He drew on the copperplate entirely in drypoint which allowed him to fully exploit the velvety areas of burr raised by the drypoint tool as it cut into the copper. When Rembrandt created this impression, he deliberately left ink on the printing plate; it lightly veils the figures standing at the foot of the cross on the right; a thicker layer almost completely covers the bushes along the right edge. By creatively inking the copperplate, Rembrandt in a certain sense painted each impression. Each time he printed the copperplate he created a unique work. He further varied impressions by printing them on different supports; this impression is printed on vellum, which infuses the composition with a warm light. Vellum, less absorbent than paper, holds ink on the surface, softening lines and enhancing the richness of entire effect.
Felix Moritz Warburg; Donor: Felix Moritz Warburg, and his family
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," December 4, 1992–April 5, 2013.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Power of Prints: The Legacy of William M. Ivins and A. Hyatt Mayor," January 26, 2016–May 22, 2016.
Hind 270.ii; Bartsch 78.ii; NH(Rembrandt).II.222.274 i
William M. Ivins Jr. "Prints by Six Masters from the Warburg and Other Collections." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 36, no. 2, New York, February 1941, p. 51, ill.