Lot 33
  • 33

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

70,000 - 90,000 GBP
218,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
  • Christ Presented to the People: Oblong Plate (B., Holl. 76; H. 271; BB. 55-A)
  • drypoint
Drypoint, 1655, a fine impression of this exceptionally rare subject, the eighth (final) state, printing with rich burr and selective areas of delicate plate tone, on paper with a Strasbourg Lily watermark


Ex coll. Fürst zu Oettingen-Wallerstein (L. 2715a)


Erik Hinterding, Ger Luijten and Martin Royalton-Kisch, Rembrandt the Printmaker, London, 2000, pp. 316-322

Catalogue Note

Two years after Rembrandt produced The Three Crosses (see lot 32), he took inspiration from an earlier event in the Passion as the subject for a print that he executed on a similarly grand scale and exclusively in drypoint. Here the artist depicts the moment when Pontius Pilate asks the public whether he should release Barrabas or Christ (Matthew 27: 21-3). Christ, a forlorn figure, is paraded before a group of spectators, many of them Amsterdam citizens of different classes whom Rembrandt had probably sketched at a public entertainment. It is likely that Rembrandt conceived of this work as a pendant to The Three Crosses and perhaps as part of a proposed series of Passion prints that was never completed.

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.