Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door of a House


Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum

Compassion for others is the main focus of this etching as a poor family receives alms from the man on the left. Notice how Rembrandt situated the donor within a doorway, the solid architecture of his house filling the left part of the composition. The peasant family, conversely, stands before emptiness. This blank space not only underscores their poverty, but also serves to highlight the beggars themselves. Solidly rendered, the beggars occupy the central position of this work, heightening their importance. Rembrandt drew attention to the actual charitable exchange by providing a white backdrop behind the hands of the giver and the receiver.

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  • Title: Beggars Receiving Alms at the Door of a House
  • Creator: Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch, b.1606, d.1669), printmaker
  • Date Created: 1648
  • Physical Dimensions: sheet 6 7/16 x 5 1/16 in. (16.4 x 12.9 cm.)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Herbert Greer French
  • Type: Print
  • Medium: etching, drypoint, and engraving (second state)
  • Accession Number: 1940.463


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