This exhibition will focus on aspects of Rembrandt’s uses of light and shade. Perhaps the most revered artist of the European tradition, Rembrandt was a supreme communicator through light and shadow, whether portraying divine transcendence or purely human concerns.
A Collection Revealed
This exhibition will highlight the extraordinary collection of 93 etchings by Rembrandt at Norwich Castle, combined with a select group of related oil paintings and drawings on loan, to demonstrate Rembrandt’s explorations of light and darkness to the fullest extent. In paint, drawing or print, Rembrandt clearly enjoyed the challenges of rendering figures emerging from darkness and the subtleties of differentiating night from shadow.
His use of light in a spiritual sense may signal divinity, revelation or redemption. Rembrandt’s images of Christ are illuminating in every sense of the word, shining a spotlight on both Christ’s divine and human natures. Equally, Rembrandt also shows us humanity, in the sense of the entirely human, non-divine, condition, so that any of his works depicting people could claim the title Ecce Homo (‘Behold the Man’). In his portraits, whether of himself or others, in paint or print, Rembrandt illuminates the minds and hearts of his subjects. He conjures up the revelation of a narrative, superbly showing us emotion through his employment of light and darkness, portraying extremes with directness and compassion.