Dr Faustus in His Study, 1652 by Rembrandt

Dr Faustus in His Study is an excellent example of Rembrandt etching style. The special interest of this print is that not all the lines are eched on the plate: Rembrandt has added further strokes in pen, in order, it would appear, to see what some new changes would look like before taking the drastic step of altering the plate itself.

Dr Faustus in His Study gives an impression of the mystery of primeval magic. The magic disc appears in the air undeterred by the light from the window. The skull at the extreme left echoes the face of the doomed Dr Faustus. This is one of Rembrandt's most intense and frightening etchings, make all the more mysterious by the complete failure of modern scholarship to discover the meaning of the letter in the magic disc.