Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker focuses on how the artist’s mastery of printmaking techniques enhanced his ability to tell compelling visual stories. One of Rembrandt’s most technically and narratively complex prints, Christ Healing the Sick, was nick-named The Hundred Guilder Print because it sold for such a high price in its day. In the exhibition, we break down the four stories from the Gospel of Matthew that Rembrandt unifies in The Hundred Guilder Print.
Jesus Christ at the Center
By placing him in the middle of the composition, taller than the other figures, illuminated, and gesturing with open arms, Rembrandt immediately identifies Christ as the focal point of the story.
Elderly & Sick Followers
Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. (Matthew 19:1–2)
Rembrandt depicts Christ’s elderly and sick followers—who have flocked to him hoping for miraculous cures—with precision in gesture, movement, facial expression, and accessories (a blind man’s cane, a wheeled trolley).
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. (Matthew 19:3–12)
The loose, light outlines of the Pharisees (members of a religious sect) on the far left contrast with the solid, fully rendered figure of Christ, from whom they turn away after he rebuts their arguments against him.
Women & Children
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. (Matthew 19:13–15)
Women and children approach Christ from the left. St. Peter, at Christ’s right, pushes them aside, but Christ simultaneously rebukes Peter and reaches out in welcome to the young families.
Rich man & Camel
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:16–30)
Rembrandt nods to this biblical proverb by including a well-dressed wealthy youth seated to Christ’s left and a camel in the shadows at far right.
Visit Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker, on view at the Denver Art Museum through January 6, 2019.