It has been widely documented that Rembrandt much admired the important Dutch printmaker Lucas van Leyden and it is evident that this composition was inspired by his engraving of the same subject, dating from 1510. While being influenced by van Leyden's overall design, Rembrandt reinterpreted it in his own way. The scene includes familiar landmarks for a Dutch audience embuing the scene with a hint of realism and topicality. For example, the statues above the central gateway would have been recognised by the artist's contemporaries as those that could be found in the new Amsterdam Town Hall.
Similarly to The Three Crosses, the plate for Christ Presented to the People was reworked through successive stages and the composition developed from one point to another. In the present impression, the crowd - which previously appeared in the foreground - has been replaced with monumental arches and a statue of a bearded man.
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