Almost 500 Etchings by Rembrandt Now Free Online, Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum

Sev­en­teenth-cen­tu­ry Dutch painter Rem­brandt van Rijn may have more name recog­ni­tion than near­ly any oth­er Euro­pean artist, his pop­u­lar­i­ty due in large part to what art his­to­ri­an Ali­son McQueen iden­ti­fies in her book of the same name as “the rise of the cult of Rem­brandt.” Pop­u­lar Rem­brandt ven­er­a­tion brought us in the 20th cen­tu­ry such cor­po­rate appro­pri­a­tions of the painter’s lega­cy as Rem­brandt tooth­paste and mon­ey mar­ket firm Rem­brandt Funds (par­tic­u­lar­ly iron­ic, “giv­en the noto­ri­ety of Rembrandt’s bank­rupt­cy in 1656”). “In con­tem­po­rary pop­u­lar cul­ture,” writes McQueen, “Rembrandt’s name has such res­o­nance that the head­line of an arti­cle in the New York Times Mag­a­zine in 1995 referred to the trendy bar­ber Franky Avi­la as ‘the Rem­brandt of Bar­bers.’”

By invok­ing Rembrandt’s name, the author knew his read­ers would under­stand that this con­nec­tion implies that Avila’s skill with a razor equals that of Rembrandt’s with his paint­brush or etch­ing nee­dle… even if a read­er has nev­er actu­al­ly seen any work by Rem­brandt.

Indeed, though any per­son on the street will like­ly know the artist’s name, most would be hard-pressed to name any of his paint­ings, except per­haps his well-known self-por­traits, which have adorned t‑shirts, posters, and iPhone cas­es. I might not have known much more about Rem­brandt than those self-por­traits either had I not lived in Wash­ing­ton, DC, where I had free access to many of his paint­ings at the Nation­al Gallery of Art.  The Dutch mas­ter was aston­ish­ing­ly pro­lif­ic, paint­ing, draw­ing, and etch­ing hun­dreds of por­traits of him­self and his patrons, as well as hun­dreds of still lifes, land­scapes, scenes from mythol­o­gy, and many, many Bib­li­cal sub­jects.

Rembrandt Mother

Nowa­days, you can see Rembrandt’s paint­ings for free online, whether from the Nation­al Gallery of Art’s col­lec­tion, that of the Nation­al Gallery in Lon­don, or of the Dutch Rijksmu­se­um. And for anoth­er side of his genius, you can now go to the site of New York’s Mor­gan Library and Muse­um, who have dig­i­tized “almost 500 images from the Morgan’s excep­tion­al col­lec­tion of Rem­brandt etch­ings,” cel­e­brat­ing his “unsur­passed skill and inven­tive­ness as a mas­ter sto­ry­teller.” There are, of course, plen­ty of self-por­traits, like the 1630 “Self Por­trait in a Cap, Open-Mouthed” at the top of the post, and there are por­traits of oth­ers, like that of the artist’s moth­er, above, from 1633. There are reli­gious scenes like the 1655 “Abraham’s Sac­ri­fice” below, and land­scapes like “The Three Trees,” fur­ther down, from 1643.


Rembrandt Three Trees

These are the four main cat­e­gories that the Mor­gan uses to orga­nize this impres­sive col­lec­tion, but you’ll also find there more hum­ble, domes­tic sub­jects, like the 1640 “Sleep­ing Pup­py,” below. Writes Hyper­al­ler­gic, “The Mor­gan holds in its col­lec­tion most of the rough­ly 300 known etch­ings by Rem­brandt, includ­ing rare, mul­ti­ple ver­sions (hence the dis­crep­an­cy in num­ber of etch­ings ver­sus num­ber of images.)” Like his high­ly accom­plished paint­ings, Rembrandt’s etch­ings “are famous for their dra­mat­ic inten­si­ty, pen­e­trat­ing psy­chol­o­gy, and touch­ing human­i­ty,” as well as, of course, for the extra­or­di­nary skill with which the artist made these works of art. Thanks to the “cult of Rem­brandt,” we all know the artist’s name and rep­u­ta­tion; now, thanks to dig­i­tal col­lec­tions from Nation­al Gal­leries, the Rijksmu­se­um, and now the Mor­gan, we can become experts in his work as well. Enter the Mor­gan col­lec­tion of sketch­es here.


Note: Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in 2015.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Makes The Night Watch Rembrandt’s Mas­ter­piece

The Largest & Most Detailed Pho­to­graph of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch Is Now Online: Zoom In & See Every Brush Stroke

Two Tiny Rem­brandt Paint­ings Have Been Redis­cov­ered & Put On Dis­play in Ams­ter­dam

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (20)
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  • Mary E Morgan says:

    I was Raised to appre­ci­ate ARt am now 65 years old. Nev­er real­ly had the mon­ey to do the paint­ings that I would love to do but I appre­ci­ate art. That’ss sketch of the Pup­py I absolute­ly love. I don’t have any mon­ey to donate. But if I did I would I don’t usu­al­ly.
    Do con­test because I am Dyslex­ic Speak into the phone even though some of the words Do not come out the way I say­but here it goes.
    The email address is my daugh­ter’s. I do not have a computer.I would love a Copy of it.
    But I think that con­test is it’s amaz­ing. Mary E Mor­gan

  • Jessica morlock says:

    I am poor too but I would love one as well sir.. thank u for ur time

  • Jessica morlock says:

    I am Jes­si­ca and

    I would love one as well sir.. thank u for ur time

  • Marie Williams says:

    How can I obtain a draw­ing? Rembrandt’s work is a mas­ter­piece to appre­ci­ate.

    Thank you.

  • Gustave Alhadeff says:

    84 in a few days. I am a Mas­ter Artist from Bel­gium Roy­al Art Acad­e­my. I had the plea­sure to see Rem­brandt paint­ings in Hol­land years ago. He will nev­er be equal. I love to have an etch­ing from him. Just a dream. Best Regards Gus­tave

  • Harvey Taratoot says:

    I am sev­en­ty nine years old and have appre­ci­at­ed art all my adult life. I have col­lect­ed all sorts of lithographs,serigraphs, oils and acrylics of unknown artists and known artist. I do not own a rem­brandt. I have sev­er­al etch­ings also. I would love to own a dig­i­tal copy to have framed and have it join all the oth­er beau­ti­ful works in my home. I find art in the same cat­e­go­ry as beau­ti­ful music.

  • Colleen Saybrook says:

    I am not a fan of Rem­brandt, I’m a Super­fan! In my imag­i­na­tion and whim­sy, I would meet this man and learn every­thing I could pos­si­bly absorb from each sec­ond in his com­pa­ny!
    He paint­ed us, the ordi­nary, the every­day man or woman child (Girl with a Broom) copy of course) but it nev­er gets old to look at the girl in the paint­ing, as he did at the time, and want to know her story.i know he wen r bank­rupt and had tragedy in his life.
    But that man, that artist, is to this day enter­tain­ing all of us, over and over. I think he knew the etch­ings would last far into the future.
    It would be an hon­or to host his art, of any kind, in my home.

    Thank you
    Colleen Say­brook

  • Stephen says:

    I can clear some shit off my refrig­er­a­tor to hang one of his POS sketch­es.

  • Christine Roehler says:

    I loved the Rem­brandt dis­play I saw in Min­neso­ta years ago. I used to sketch as a teenag­er and always loved art in all it form. I would love a copy of his sketch­es.

  • Christine Roehler says:

    I loved the Rem­brandt dis­play I saw in Min­neso­ta years ago. I used to sketch as a teenag­er and always loved art in all it form.

  • Karma says:

    I am a fan of Rem­brandt and would love one of these etch­ing please!

  • Cynthia Stovall says:

    Dear sirs,
    I would enjoy hav­ing any of the sketch­es, drawings,and/ doo­dles. I BELIEVE in my heart he was a real genius. It would be an hon­or to have any one of them.
    If we enjoy the lit­tle things like a four leaf clover,or a rain­bow, imag­ine how won­der­ful to share a part of the cre­ative mind of such a man. After all he had a God giv­en tal­ent.

    Cyn­thia Sto­vall

  • Hope says:


  • Lisa Davis says:

    My moth­er is a huge fan of Rem­nant remem­ber­ing hard books of Rem­nant sit­ting on cof­fee table she would live a sketch of before she dies she was just Diag­nosed with can­cer rem­nant was amaz­ing artist what tal­ent thank you sin­cere­ly Lisa Davis

  • Tj Layden says:

    Good morn­ing!
    I love art! But, I could nev­er afford even think­ing of buy­ing one let alone by one. What a dream it would be to own one.
    Warmest regards, Tj

  • Rebecca Carney says:

    I inher­it­ed a Rem­brandt etch­ing from my father. He pur­chased it about 50 years ago at Har­rods in Lon­don and I have their cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Would love anoth­er one of the artist if avail­able. Don’t exact­ly under­stand how you are giving/.selling these but could pay some­thing for the right one.

  • Paul A. Casilla says:

    I enjoyed the arti­cle, and the links to view all of the Mor­gan col­lec­tion, it’s nice to see some of Rem­brandt’s work as I have only seen a few pic­tures in high school text­books many years ago. Art is meant to be appre­ci­at­ed and view­ing it through your arti­cle was a bless­ing just as good as stand­ing in front of it. Thanks.

    As for this com­ments sec­tion which appears to have evolved into a beg­gar’s wall. I don’t know why you many folks are expect­ing to be giv­en some­thing for noth­ing. Even more per­plex­ing, have you not looked at the Link to the Mor­gan Col­lec­tion? You can copy and save all of them to your com­put­er; or print them to your heart’s con­tent and hang them on your fridge, or even go to greater lengths to print them in a fan­cy way that will bet­ter resem­ble their true nature so you can hang it at your home. It’s com­plete­ly up to you.

  • Frank Garrity says:

    Please enter my name for the Rem­brandt draw­ing. I would sure­ly trea­sure Rem­brandt Etch­ing. Thank You, Frank Gar­ri­ty

  • Julia Davis says:

    I was an art teacher for years in the Pub­lic Schools. I wish that I could have had a Rem­brandt to share with my stu­dents, I would like one now to share with the young peo­ple in my church, a small
    Epis­co­pal Church. I would frame it and hang it in a promi­nent place so that all of our chil­dren could so a real Rem­brandt. I can imag­ine how much every­one would love it. The fact that you all hane cre­at­ed such a pro­gram is ter­rif­ic.

    Wish­ing you all the best, Julia Davis

  • Jim Reckard says:

    I am a high school art teacher and would love to have one for my Art His­to­ry class!!

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