Born in 1606, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, or Rembrandt as he is commonly known, was a self-taught printmaker and painter whose works of the Dutch Golden Age created waves throughout 17th-century Europe. Rembrandt’s paintings, such as “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” or “The Night Watch,” showcase his skill as a painter, but his works in etching and printmaking showcase his skill as an artist throughout multiple mediums.

Rembrandt’s etchings are the main subject of the exhibition “Rembrandt: Etchings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen,” currently on display at the Worcester Art Museum, or the WAM.

Currently celebrating its 125th anniversary, the WAM is a medium-sized art museum located in the center of Worcester. For all interested Brandeis students, this is a short walk from Union Station, accessible via the Commuter Rail. For those of you who have enjoyed the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the WAM offers the simplicity and the calm environment of the Gardner with the collection and information of the MFA. Their collection spans from Ancient Greece and Rome to Modern Artists like Pollock and Kandinsky, with a good collection of African and Asian art as well. The WAM offers a student discount to all college students with Valid ID, so bring your Brandeis ID Card and explore this museum. You will find the Rembrandt exhibit on the second floor.

The largest collection of etchings by Rembrandt currently in the United States, the Rembrandt exhibit is divided into two distinct sections. The first section discusses his early life, inspirations and artistic process. The second section is devoted to the best examples of his subjects.

The first section is an informational gallery with a relaxed atmosphere, providing educational and tactile graphics to describe the process of etching and printing. Etching and printing were widely popular in the 17th century as a method of distributing artwork to the public. Rembrandt was quickly known as a master in this art. Some highlights of this section are “The Raising of Lazarus,” “Death of the Virgin” and “Christ before Pilate.” Throughout are the inspirations of Rembrandt’s works presented alongside dozens of personal interpretations from his life. This section highlights his truth in medium and skill in technique.

The second section illustrates his expertise by showcasing his diverse subject matter and prolific career. Separated into five subsections: Landscape, the Bible and Religion, Tories and Portraiture, Self-Portraiture and Everyday Life, this gallery presents the mastery of Rembrandt’s career. Notable works such as “The Hog” and “Abraham’s Sacrifice” show us the extent of this exhibit with one of his most famous, “Self Portrait with Saskia,” adorning the walls of this gallery. This etching, one of over 70 self-portraits done by Rembrandt, depicts the artist and his wife in what would be considered a marriage portrait. His wife, Saskia, is shown in the back of the etching supporting her husband’s career not just as a wife but also as a model for many of his works depicting women.

In the opinion of the authors, this exhibit not only provides the public with beautiful etchings by Rembrandt, but also speaks to a socio-economic wave of accessibility to the arts. For centuries these etchings have been kept in private collections or exclusively in larger museums and galleries. Given the scale of the WAM, being able to see works that had, and continue to have, lasting impacts on art and artists is an uncommon but welcome occurrence. Not only does the WAM provide you with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many of these etchings, but as a small-scale museum, unlike the Gardner or the MFA, it also provides you with an intimate experience unfettered by crowds and advertisements.

Come and see the museum before this exhibit closes on Feb. 19. Student discounts are available at the front desk of the museum, and we highly encourage you to buy a $10 weekend pass for the commuter rail and go to the museum!

Abraham’s Sacrifice

Self Portrait with Saskia