Trompe l'Oeil of an Etching by Ferdinand Bol


Not on view

The unknown author of this picture-within-a-picture hid his own identity, but not that of the signed and dated print he meticulously copied. The print reveals Dutch artist Ferdinand Bol’s debt to his teacher Rembrandt in the characterization of the old man and the etching technique, reproduced perfectly in paint. Fixed to the board by a blob of sealing wax, the print appears to curl toward the viewer, its illusionistic creases implying previous handling. The actual oak support that the painter used is concealed by his convincing imitation of pine.

Trompe l'Oeil of an Etching by Ferdinand Bol, Anonymous, Oil on panel

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Photo courtesy of National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2022