Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Christ Crucified between Two Thieves (The Three Crosses)Made in Netherlands, Europe
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch (active Leiden and Amsterdam), 1606 - 1669
Drypoint with engraving (fourth state of five)
Currently not on view
|Acquired with the Muriel and Philip Berman Gift (by exchange) and with the gifts (by exchange) of Lisa Norris Elkins, Bryant W. Langston, Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White, William Goldman, Herbert T. Church, R. Edward Ross, Jay Cooke, Carl Zigrosser, John Sheldon, the Charles M. Lea Collection, the William S. Pilling Collection, the Louis E. Stern Collection, the Print Club of Philadelphia Permanent Collection, and with funds contributed (by exchange) from John Howard McFadden, Jr., Thomas Skelton Harrison, the Philip and A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation and the Edgar Viguers Seeler Fund, 2003|
LabelOnly a few times did Rembrandt attempt to create a print with the size and painterly surface of his oil paintings, and none of his prints has greater expressive power than The Three Crosses. Drypoint lines, both deeply gouged and delicately incised, play a crucial role in achieving Rembrandt's vision of the swirling chaos of rushing figures and the ominous dark and piercing light that accompany Christ's final moments on the cross. In the fourth-state reworking of the composition, shown here, ghostly forms leftover from earlier states hover beneath a veil of more recent drypoint lines. Rembrandt introduced new figures, such as a rearing horse at left, and transformed others, such as the Apostle John with outstretched arms at right. Christ, more human and sorrowful than in earlier states, with eyes and mouth half-open, appears to speak his final words.