Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt etching of farm scene with a man sketching

Cottages and Farm Building with a Man Sketching, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, etching
Cottages and Farm Building with a Man Sketching, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Etching, roughly 5 x 8 in. (13 x 21 cm); in the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum, which has both a zoomable and downloadable version of the image on their site.

Remarkable though they may be, Rembrandt’s etchings of Biblical scenes are somewhat formal and tightly composed. Sale of those etchings was an important part of Rembrandt’s stock in trade an an artist.

His etchings of landscapes, however, seem an extension of his apparent love of sketching on location; they carry much of the relaxed and confident charm of his landscape drawings.

In these etchings, like his reed pen landscape drawings, I get a sense of pleasure in the act of drawing — the fun of hatching in the dark tones, the joy of his needle scratching across the plate, searching out the gestural shapes of the tree and the animals, and the quiet satisfaction of spending time out sketching the countryside with another artist.

 
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7 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt etching of farm scene with a man sketching”

  1. For this, he would have been using an etching needle: http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/rembrandt_etching_technique.htm

    For many of his drawings, he used a reed pen and iron gall ink: http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/rembrandt_drawings_start.htm

    To draw like Rembrandt with modern materials, you can just buy a nice brown ink (like Noodler’s Standard Brown or Walnut: http://noodlersink.com/noodlers-ink-color/) and a bamboo pen. Bamboo pens are readily available at art stores. Reed pens generally are not; they are more flexible, but don’t last as long. You can find instructions online and in books for making you own: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5ZTfjvtlLg (Instructions for cutting bamboo and reed pens are essentially the same). I’ve made reed pens out of Phragmites.

    If you want to draw with a finer line (more like etching) and combine it with wash, see my post on “My pocket Rembrandt”: http://linesandcolors.com/2009/02/02/my-pocket-rembrandt/

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