Rembrandt: Prints ‘of a Particular Spirit’

On View: December 8, 2017 - March 5, 2018
Release Date: September 8, 2017

Rembrandt: Prints ‘of a Particular Spirit’

Pasadena, CA—In celebration of the installation of Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 34, on loan from The National Gallery, London, the Norton Simon Museum presents Rembrandt: Prints ‘of a Particular Spirit,’ a focused exploration of the artist’s graphic output between 1630 and 1640, a period in which his creative evolution and technical refinement reached new heights. Drawing from the Norton Simon’s rich collection of Rembrandt etchings, this exhibition gives viewers the opportunity to examine the artist’s inspired storytelling and sensitive studies of landscape and the human face.

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669) was the premier portrait painter of Amsterdam in the mid-17th century, and his masterful history paintings drew admiration from his aristocratic patrons. While many artists employed professional printmakers to spread their achievements, only a handful learned printmaking themselves, and fewer still left such a profound effect on the medium as Rembrandt. Taking up etching needle and copper plate early in his career, Rembrandt crafted energetic images that were prized by connoisseurs and imitated by artists. One contemporary English collector, John Evelyn, pronounced him “the incomparable Rembrandt, whose etchings and gravings are of a particular spirit.”

The 21 works on view in this exhibition range from landscapes, such as View of Amsterdam from the Northwest, c. 1640, to religious subjects including Joseph Telling His Dreams, from 1638, and figure studies like Self-Portrait with Saskia, 1636, and Old Man Shading His Eyes with His Hand, c. 1639. Together these works demonstrate Rembrandt’s technical finesse and ingenuity during the 1630s. As Rembrandt’s career was reaching new heights, some of his boldest compositional treatments were subjects that he rarely addressed in paint, but gave exceptional vitality in print. Characterized by the delicate network of lines, these works imitate the immediacy of drawings while evoking the formalities of careful study and deliberate execution. It is a testament to Rembrandt’s singularity that we are equally captivated by his etchings today as audiences were in the 17th century.

Rembrandt: Prints ‘of a Particular Spirit’ is organized by Casey Lee, academic intern at the Norton Simon Museum (2016–17). It is on view in the small exhibition gallery on the main level from Dec. 8, 2017, through March 5, 2018.

About the Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit www.nortonsimon.org. Hours: The Museum is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesday. Admission: General admission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors. Members, students with I.D., and patrons age 18 and under are admitted free of charge. Admission is free for everyone on the first Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. All public programs, unless stated otherwise, are free with admission. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. Parking: Parking is free, and no reservations are necessary. Public Transportation: Pasadena Transit stops directly in front of the Museum. Please visit www.pasadenatransit.net for schedules. The MTA bus line #180/181 stops in front of the Museum. The Memorial Park Station on the MTA Gold Line, the closest Metro Rail station to the Museum, is located at 125 E. Holly St. at Arroyo Parkway. Please visit www.metro.net for schedules.                              

Press Contacts

Leslie C. Denk
(626) 844-6900
[email protected]

Emma Jacobson-Sive
(323) 842-2064
[email protected]


Press Kit


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High-resolution images from the exhibition may be obtained by emailing [email protected]


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Read about the exhibition.