Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves: The Three Crosses

Artist: Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)

Date: ca. 1660

Medium: Drypoint

Dimensions: Sheet: 15 1/16 x 17 1/2 in. (38.2 x 44.4 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Gift of Felix M. Warburg and his family, 1941

Accession Number: 41.1.33


In the fourth state of this print, Rembrandt completely transformed the plate by scraping away large portions of the original composition (see also the second state, 41.1.31), some of which are still visible underneath the hatching. He covered the sky with strong parallel lines that veil the remaining figures on both sides, and he redrew Christ's face to show his mouth open and his eyes half-closed. These changes actually alter the subject of the print: instead of showing the centurion's conversion after Christ's death, the image now focuses on the figure of Christ in the final moments of life, as he cries, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).