Rembrandt van Rijn, Abraham’s Sacrifice, 1655. Etching and drypoint on paper, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
Rembrandt van Rijn (1609–69) was active as an etcher from 1630 to 1661. He experimented with a range of subject matter, etching techniques, and materials, including Japanese paper. By the 1650s, when Abraham's Sacrifice was first printed, Rembrandt had begun to treat the printing plate like a canvas, leaving some ink on the surface of the plate in order to create the impression that his prints were painted. The impression shown here was created from a plate with excess ink, as evidenced by the darkness and depth of the shadows. Rembrandt's treatment of the subject is taken from Italian prints, seen in the way that the figures of Abraham, Isaac, and the angel are intertwined like a human column.