male figure in workshop delicately tapping a sculpture with a mallet; sculpture features a standing woman cradling an infant on her PR, and embracing a standing nude toddler at her PL

The Goldsmith, 1655

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This statue is an allegory of Charity. The Dutch hammered on this virtue throughout the 1600s, even posting public donation boxes for the poor. Rembrandt used the theme to comment on the intimate connection between artists and their craft. Wearing a craftsman’s apron, the smith slowly adds his finishing touches, in no hurry to have his creation leave his shop. He shows his Charity group the tenderness of a parent, and Charity gives to him the rewards of his creativity. Rembrandt printed this miraculous little work on a golden, slightly iridescent Japanese paper made from the gampi plant. He apparently got hold of nearly all of the rare gampi paper that reached Holland in the 1640s.

Exhibitions
Details
Title
The Goldsmith
Artist Life
1606–1669
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.93.23
Provenance
Tristram Carlyon, Esq. (1877-1957) (his Rembrandt sale, P. & G. Colnaghi, London, possibly in late 1950s, stock no. R557). John E. Andrus III, Wayzata, Minn.; by descent to his daughters, Elizabeth, Katie, and Julie; gave to MIA, 2015. Earlier provenances have been gathered, but further research will increase our knowledge of their histories.
Catalogue Raisonne
Bartsch 123; Hind 285; New Hollstein 289 i/iii
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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male figure in workshop delicately tapping a sculpture with a mallet; sculpture features a standing woman cradling an infant on her PR, and embracing a standing nude toddler at her PL