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Rembrandt’s Etchings & Japanese Echizen Paper

Already from the later 17th century it was documented that Rembrandt occasionaly printed his etching plates on oriental paper. In the 18th century his plates were re-printed on oriental paper, as well as contemporary artists printing their copies after Rembrandt or their own etchings in the style of Rembrandt on oriental paper. The actual paper of early states of Rembrandt prints on oriental paper has been researched only twice, by George Biƶrklund in 1968 and Jacobus van Breda in 1997. A Japanese team, cooperating with staff from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, entered on an ambitious project researching the oriental papers in dozen of Rembrandt etchings from the collection of the Rijksmuseum in 2014. Their aim is to disclose the (Japanese) region(s) where Rembrandt's oriental paper was made. A final scientific report is expected in 2018. The present exhibition places this project in its larger historical context, giving an overview of the use of oriental (mainly Japanese) paper by European merchants, clergy and artists from the 1590s to c.1670, the emphasis being on Rembrandt's etchings, with further works by contemporaries on oriental paper. The exhibition includes a short history of the invention and dissemination of papermaking, basic information on present manual papermaking in Japan, and an introduction to the Japanese-Dutch research project.
Relevant research areas: Western Europe, East Asia, Baroque, Etching, Papermaking

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