Born in 1606 in the Netherlands, Rembrandt van Rijn is regarded as one of the greatest of the Old Masters. His skill with oils is well known; however, it is in his etchings that we isolate his skills as a master draftsman. Rembrandt’s etchings reveal his understanding of the Bible, his faith in God, and his compassion for the human condition. Of his some 1,500 authenticated pieces, one-third are of Bible subjects. Portraying truth became his primary objective. He sought to portray the scriptures in all their depth, without relying on sectarian traditions.
At his death in 1669, an inventory of his holdings was short. It included only one book—his well-worn Dutch Bible. On his easel stood an unfinished painting of a biblical scene, Simeon and the Christ Child in the Temple.
The Church recently acquired 17 of Rembrandt’s 70 biblical etchings. Several are shown here. They are now featured together with many other Rembrandt etchings of the scriptures in an exhibit that will run through the end of December 2005 at the Museum of Church History and Art. To view the current exhibit online, visit www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum/exhibits/current.