24.02.2015 – 31.05.2015

Main Building

Printmaking techniques: Etching

13.10.2015 – 01.11.2015

Main Building

Etching is an intaglio technique in which the artist covers a polished metal plate with a layer of acid-resistant varnish, scratches a design through it with special etching needles of different size, and immerses the plate in an acid bath. The acid bites into the exposed metal, producing an image. The latter can be further elaborated or changed by additional etching or incising with a burin or etching needle (the so-called «drypoint» technique, after which the plate is not immersed in acid again) to efface the lines and re-polish the plate. All the changes on the plate that are recorded on prints are called «states». 

Although artists began to employ etching in the 16th century, it became popular only in the 17th century, especially in Holland. Rembrandt was one of the greatest masters of this technique, creating almost three hundred etchings over his career. The exhibit presents some of Rembrandt's masterpieces from the 1640s and 1650s that show the broad range of expressive possibilities of etching, the most flexible and emotional of all printmaking techniques – from fine linear compositions resembling pen-and-ink drawings to tableaus recalling the artist's late paintings. In his relentless experiments with technique and different paper types, Rembrandt strove to bring across the inner dramatic meaning of the scene, attaining profound tragic intensity in his famous etching Three Crosses.

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