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The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds

Artist:
Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)
Date:
1634
Medium:
Etching and drypoint; third state of three
Dimensions:
sheet: 14 1/4 x 11 3/8 in. (36.2 x 28.9 cm) plate: 10 1/4 x 8 11/16 in. (26.1 x 22 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
The Sylmaris Collection, Gift of George Coe Graves, 1920
Accession Number:
20.46.14
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 690
Here, Rembrandt shows how the herdsmen in Luke 2:8–20 were confronted in the middle of the night by a large winged angel, lit by the glory of God, who came to tell of the birth of Christ. This work presents Rembrandt’s visualization of the scene, in which the serene angel radiates calm and blessing in the clouds, while on the ground the beasts scatter in total panic and the herdsmen recoil in terror.


To create this etching, Rembrandt worked from the dark areas into the light of the foreground. Although he had painted night scenes before, this was his first attempt at duplicating the effects in etching.
Signature: Rembrandt f. 1634
George Coe Graves; Donor: George Coe Graves
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," May 9, 2017–August 7, 2017.

Hind 120iii; B. 44; NH(Rembrandt).I.201.125 iii
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