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Watermark Identification in Rembrandt’s Etchings Summer Workshop

The prints of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669) have captivated collectors for centuries. Still, much remains to be learned about his printing and production process. The dearth of contemporary documentation about Rembrandt's printing studio, along with the frequent posthumous reworking and reprinting of his plates, foreground the importance of studying paper characteristics in tandem with print connoisseurship, to continue the establishment of a Rembrandt printing chronology and bring further discoveries to light.

Watermarks-images imparted by paper molds to the European paper supports on which most of Rembrandt's etchings are printed-have become particularly essential in dating Rembrandt impressions. Building on Dr. Erik Hinterding's landmark 2006 study of Rembrandt watermarks, the WIRE project as represented in a current touring exhibition, is building a digital platform to further Rembrandt scholarship by enhancing access to detailed information about the over 200 batches of paper used by Rembrandt.

In this five-day residential workshop, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Finger Lakes region, a small student cohort will learn about the watermarks field and contribute to this important project. In addition to working intensively towards completion of individual branches of an interactive computer decision tree designed for the rapid identification of Rembrandt watermarks, students will:
- gain knowledge of the manufacture and imaging of historic papers;
- investigate Rembrandt's printmaking techniques with real works of art;
- become familiar with print connoisseurship and cataloguing; and
- discuss strategies for the visual and semantic differentiation of watermarks.

Other topics will include chain line matching for identifying "moldmates" in historic papers, and Rembrandt as marketer. The workshop is fully funded by NEH, and participants will receive room and board on Cornell campus. Applicants should be upper-level undergraduate or graduate students interested in printmaking, Rembrandt studies, paper conservation, and/or a general materials approach to the study of art. No programming skills are required.

Workshop instructors:
Dr. Andrew C. Weislogel, the Seymour R. Askin, Jr. '47 Curator, Johnson Museum of Art (
Dr. C. Richard Johnson, Jr., Hedrick Senior Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Jacobs Fellow, Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Cornell Tech (
Brittany R. R. Rubin, Print Room Curatorial Assistant, Johnson Museum of Art (
Special guest speaker: Stephanie S. Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art, Queen's University, Kingston, ON

To apply, please submit a cover letter stating your interest in the workshop and detailing how its topics might serve your educational and career interests, accompanied by a CV.

Deadline extended! Send materials in a single PDF file to by April 27, 2018. Questions may be similarly addressed.

Relevant research areas: North America, Baroque, Engraving, Etching

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