Rembrandt, 1641, etching on laid paper
Overall: 5 7/16 x 13 1/16 in. (13.8 x 33.2 cm)
Gift of Jean K. Weil in memory of Adolph Weil Jr., Class of 1935, PR.997.5.102
In this etching, Rembrandt employs a stark dichotomy between the immediacy and detailed nature of cottage with the recessive, amorphous quality of the skyline and topography behind it. The character and color of the sky, shaped by Rembrandt’s masterful use of shading, translates the depth, temperament, color, and feeling of the Dutch atmosphere into an artistic sphere.
As in his Three Trees, Rembrandt retains an interest in human vignettes decoratively placed in the midst of a grandiose landscape. He populates the scene with figures fishing on the dock, two figures framed in the windows of the cottage, and a female figure carrying an umbrella and purse walking on the terrain. They seem at ease with the land and conjoined inextricably with their surroundings, symbols of Dutch national pride and quintessential inhabitants of Amsterdam. Many facets of the cottage itself are also worthy of note: the slightly dilapidated state, its low elevation, its commingling with the nature around it. Just as the cottage houses its inhabitants, serving as a site of reprise, peace, and freedom, the Dutch landscape and sky houses the cottage and the Dutch landscape, crafting a pastoral harmony between nature and domesticity.