Christ Preaching, 1652 by Rembrandt

Rembrandt is without question one of the greatest engravers of all time. His graphic output is impressive for the number and variety of its subjects, his consummate knowledge of the technique, and his expressiveness. Small genre sketches alternate with large, highly elaborate compositions, produced in various versions, each with slight variations. For Rembrandt, prints fulfilled a different function to painting, but remained first and foremost a formidable field of figurative research.

Rembrandt only seldom translated subjects he had already treated in his paintings into engravings. It was more usual for him to study totally new themes, innovatively developing the possibilities underlying the relationship between black and white, light and shade. The skill with which Rembrandt printed the plates, the exceptional control he exercised over the chemical solutions necessary to the process, and the knowledge that he could produce a considerable number of copies convinced him that engravings could help him in the teaching of his craft, especially in the workshop. Much of Rembrandt's earnings came from engravings, but would later prove insufficient to save him from financial ruin.

Christ Preaching, the famous frequently copied scene is powerful in its structure and luminosity.