Print, 'Christ Presented to the People: Oblong Plate (V/VIII)' by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (1606-1669), drypoint on vellum, 1655
Rembrandt made eight versions of this popular print, with the one shown here being the fifth state. By this iteration, he had begun to alter the architecture, creating a more enclosed atmosphere and bringing the viewer's gaze nearer to Jesus on the dais. Rembrandt always produced spectacular crowd scenes, with every individual rendered with character and purpose. However, in the sixth version of this print, he erased the people in front of the dais completely from the plate, bringing the focus in ever more tightly and dramatically on Jesus.
This is the only print on vellum in Norwich Castle's collection. This material is much less absorbent than paper, which results in more ink remaining on the surface. This effect, combined with the burr of the drypoint needle and the golden colour of the vellum, creates a rich, painterly look of depth and character.