Marking the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, this exhibition will be dedicated entirely to Rembrandt’s works on paper. The British Museum holds one of the most important collections of Rembrandt’s prints and drawings in the world, and this exhibition offers a chance to see works rarely exhibited due to light-sensitivity.
This exhibition examines Rembrandt’s creative process on paper by bringing together related subjects from throughout his life. Rembrandt’s prints were rarely commissioned and remained a personal venture. As such these are perhaps the best document of his working practice. Thematic displays of Rembrandt’s self-portraits, landscapes and biblical scenes will illuminate his artistic development, his changing techniques and stylistic shifts.
At the heart of this exhibition stands Young woman sleeping (Hendrickje Stoffels?) (c.1654), an evocative brush drawing of the woman thought to be Rembrandt’s late lover caught in an intimate moment of rest. Rembrandt’s depictions of women seem to offer a poignant glimpse into his personal life. His studio was located in his home, as was customary at the time, and he drew women both in formally posed sessions and in spontaneous moments in the household. Other depictions of women include Rembrandt’s early portrait of his wife Saskia ill in bed. On display for the first time is Rembrandt’s printing plate for Reclining female nude (1658), alongside an impression of the print, giving technica