“Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings Exhibit Goes Online,” Ensign, Sept. 2005, 77
One of the Museum of Church History and Art’s current exhibits, Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings, can now be viewed online. Included in the online exhibit are digital images of the Church’s recently acquired collection of 20 Rembrandt etchings and more than 30 etchings loaned to the exhibit by private Latter-day Saint collectors, Shawn and Andrea Merriman.
Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings opened in Salt Lake City in May. Senior museum curator, Robert Davis, said that, like the Salt Lake City exhibit, the online exhibit is one of the largest collections of Rembrandt’s biblical artwork shown together in one place.
“Visitors can view online high-resolution images of more than 50 of Rembrandt’s 70 documented biblical etchings,” Brother Davis said.
During the 17th century, Rembrandt created more than 1,500 authenticated pieces of artwork. A third of the Dutch artist’s works involved biblical subjects. In his religious art, Rembrandt frequently depicted common people from his Dutch background as he visualized and expressed the scriptures.
The online exhibit includes pictures showing the gallery setting of the current Rembrandt display in the Museum of Church History and Art.
Online exhibit visitors watch an animated presentation detailing the multi-step process used to create an etching. Brother Davis said the site also allows online visitors to carefully examine the details of Rembrandt’s etchings. Each digital image can be magnified several times to show the artist’s “exquisite technique and unique detail.”
The online collection includes depictions of Old and New Testament stories, including Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the battle between David and Goliath, and Joseph telling of his dreams to his brothers and parents. The collection includes 36 etchings of the life, ministry, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Brother Davis said that Rembrandt approached his biblical artwork by pondering a biblical passage and then expressing it in an etching.
“Rembrandt through his art was able to give visual equivalents to the words and meaning of the scriptures,” Brother Davis said.
The Rembrandt exhibit is one of several exhibits to have been posted online by the museum in the last five years. Previous online exhibits have included the museum’s international art competitions, a display of Walter Rane’s Book of Mormon paintings, and a collection of President Boyd K. Packer’s paintings and sculptures.
Brother Davis said posting the Rembrandt exhibit and other exhibits online increases access to the museum’s art throughout the world.
“The farther you get away from Utah, the harder it is to come to the museum,” Brother Davis said. “But you can see what the Church museum is through these Web sites.”
Rembrandt: The Biblical Etchings will be on exhibit in Salt Lake City until December 11, 2005, and will remain indefinitely on the museum’s Web site (www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum).