The Three Crosses

Rembrandtcirca 1653 - 1655

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

Rembrandt married Saskia in 1634, soon after moving from his birthplace Leiden to Amsterdam, where he gained a reputation as a portraitist and history painter. His graphic work played an important part in his rise to international fame, as it was reproducible and so became more widely known than his paintings or drawings. Print collectors of the time appreciated Rembrandt’s treatment of light and shade, and his fluid handling of line. Of the many scores of sheets in the museum’s print room, The Three Crosses of 1653-1655 is arguably the most impressive and certainly the most experimental. The image was not etched but scratched into the copper plate with a needle. The lines are angular and expressive. Here and there, a figure can be glimpsed in the dark shadows. Only Christ on the Cross-is illuminated. The details are less important than the overall effect, which is simply breathtaking.

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  • Title: The Three Crosses
  • Date Created: circa 1653 - 1655
  • Theme: Christianity
  • Physical Dimensions: w451 x h383 mm
  • Original Title: De drie kruisen
  • Engraver: Rembrandt van Rijn
  • Artist Information: Rembrandt van Rijn was born in Leiden. After his apprenticeship, during which he studied with various painters including Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, he started a studio in Leiden. He became successful with paintings of biblical scenes and famous for the great attention he paid to the incidence of light. From 1632, Rembrandt worked in Amsterdam, where he made a name as portrait painter for the well-to-do middle classes. In 1634 he married Saskia van Uylenburgh, and they had a son, Titus, together. Rembrandt painted various portraits of both Saskia and Titus. After 1642, the year in which Saskia died and in which he painted the famous Nachtwacht, business declined. In 1656, he was declared bankrupt. In these years, Rembrandt's subjects became more reticent and less baroque. Rembrandt had a very high production. Some 650 paintings from his hand are known, including 60 self-portraits, around 300 etchings and 1500 to 2000 drawings.
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: Donated by Dr. A.J. Domela Nieuwenhuis 1923
  • External Link: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen
  • Medium: Drypoint and engraving


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