The Descent from the Cross (second plate), 1633

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Following the example of Peter Paul Rubens, who worked with a stable of printmakers to win fame and riches, Rembrandt collaborated with Leiden etcher Johannes van Vliet, who reproduced Rembrandt's paintings in prints. This large, ambitious composition was based on a painting Rembrandt made for Frederick Hendrik, the Prince of Orange, who, as stadholder was the highest-ranking elected official in the country. It directly challenged Rubens by showing the removal of Christ from the cross as a dismal, physical event rather than a glorious baroque cascade. Even in such a serious production, Rembrandt's idiosyncratic humor comes through, for he assigned himself a cameo role, clutching Christ's arm and glaring outward.

Van Vliet executed much of the etching; Rembrandt possibly added some finishing touches.

The Descent from the Cross (second plate)
Artist Life
c. 1600/10–1668
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
H.103 ii/v; B.81; Mz.198 ii/v; Holl. 81 (II) ii/v; B-B 33-C ii/v
Curator Approved

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