large oblong plate

The Three Crosses, 1655

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Rembrandt's grand interpretation of the Crucifixion probably developed in tandem with his Christ Presented to the People. It started out as an operatic extravaganza performed in a radiating cone of light. Rembrandt's revision of the Crucifixion scene was even more radical than his obliteration of the crowd in the judgment scene. He changed many details of the image. The horse in the earlier version has been reversed and received a rider in this later one. The centurion no longer looks up at Christ; instead, he bows his head in remorse. But most dramatically, Rembrandt took his etching needle firmly in hand to lacerate the printing plate, throwing the scene into chaos and darkness. He had never executed anything like this before or after. In fact, nothing would truly compare until the advent of expressionist art in the 20th century.

The Three Crosses
Artist Life
Accession Number
John MacGouan (d. 1803), Lugt 1496, Edinburgh; (until 1803; his sale, London, May 13-19, 1803, no. 63 of the Third Day's Sale). Ambrose Firmin-Didot (1790-1866), Lugt 119, Paris (until 1877; his sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, April 16-May 12, 1877, no. 827 to Danlos & Delisle for 170 Francs). Juan Jorge Peoli (1825-1893), Lugt 2020, New York (until 1894; his sale, American Art Galleries, New York, May 8, 1894, no. 1873). André-Jean Hachette (1873-1952), Lugt 132, Paris. [Richard H. Zinser, Forest Hills, New York, until 1958; sold, for $8,800, to Mia]
Catalogue Raisonne
H. 270 iv/v; B. 78; Mz. 223 iv/v; Holl. 78 iv/v; B-B. 53-A iv/v
Curator Approved

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large oblong plate