• Jan Six. B.285

    Artist:
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. 1606-1669
    Technique:
    etching, dry point with engraving
    Dimensions:
    244x191 mm

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. 1606-1669

Jan Six. B.285

Holland, 1647

The artist produced an image of a refined intellectual gentleman absorbed in the world of literature and art that was far from standard for 1640s Holland. Jan Six (1618–1700) was the heir to an immense fortune that his father had made in the cloth trade, but he played no part in the family business and only towards the end of the century did he occupy some official posts, serving as burgomaster of Amsterdam in 1691, for example. The absence of contact between the subject and the viewer is a significant feature of this print that sets it strongly apart from the standard run of Dutch portraits at that time. This was something more characteristic of history pictures or genre scenes. Combining etching with direct cutting of the copper plate with a burin and a dry-point needle, Rembrandt achieved incredible complexity and softness in the transitions of light and shade. The subdued lighting in the scene accords with the complete illusion of calm, quiet and the subject’s self-absorption. The young man has (symbolically!) turned his back on the outside world and is concentrating on his reading. Such “behaviour” by the subject of a picture was provocatively outside the norm. The young Amsterdam patrician is not engaged in displaying his wealth or his membership of the ruling elite; his concern is for the intellectual side of human existence.

Title:

Jan Six. B.285

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

etching, dry point with engraving

State:

IV/4

Dimensions:

244x191 mm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1897; bequeathed by D.A. Rovinsky

Inventory Number:

ОГ-235389

Category:

Collection: