The City of Lake Charles will host Sordid and Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt’s Etchings at the Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center. The exhibition will hang through April 8.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is widely recognized as the greatest practitioner of the etching technique in the history of art. By the age of 18 he had finished his formal training as an artist; the following year, 1625, he was beginning to sell his work. The artist’s first recorded etchings were produced around this time. It wasn’t until 1630, following the death of his father, when the artist was a mere 24 years old, that he wholeheartedly embraced etching. In no year of his life did he etch more than in 1630.
Sordid and Sacred includes 35 prints made from copper plate etchings, which date between 1629 and 1654. Most of the prints were completed in and around 1630. The gallery is arranged chronologically, enabling viewers to see the artist’s development as an engraver. The earliest pieces, from 1629, are simple, single-figure studies, extremely limited in line, shading and tone. What is evident about Rembrandt’s representations of beggars is his refusal to depict them as contemptible or repugnant; his humanity always shines through.
These selections from the John Villarino Collection are now being made available for circulation to museums across the country through Landau Traveling Exhibitions from Los Angeles, CA. Villarino’s initial focus of collecting was classical etchings and lithographs by artists including Toulouse de Lautrec and Pablo Picasso. In 1995 Villarino’s attention was drawn to the work of Rembrandt, and his evident influence on the prints of Lautrec, Picasso, and others.
Historic City Hall is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open on Bilbo Street behind the center every Saturday 8 a.m.-noon. For more information, please call 491-9147 or visit www.cityoflakecharles.com.