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Rembrandt van Rijn

The Flight into Egypt: Crossing a Brook (B.55)

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About the Work
About the Artist

About the Work

Rembrandt van Rijn is considered a Dutch master and one of the great artists of all time. As well as producing many paintings and portraits, Rembrandt produced many etchings. The Flight into Egypt: Crossing a Brook is an etching on paper from Rembrandt’s original plate, printed by the Basan family. This image measures 4 x 6 inches.

In the 1650s Rembrandt created a number of night pieces-dark prints that allowed him to explore the various ways in which single sources of light illuminate otherwise pitch-black scenes. The cropping of this Flight into Egypt is unusual: the donkey’s lower legs and Joseph’s feet fall outside of the picture plane. Because of this it has traditionally been assumed that they are wading through a brook. The shadows falling on Mary and Jesus consist of parallel lines, with much white between them. As a result, mother and child stand out somewhat against the densely shaded background.

One of the most revered artists of all time, Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are seen in his portraits of his contemporaries, illustrations of biblical scenes and self-portraits as well as his innovative etchings and use of shadow and light.