Abraham Entertaining the Angels

Rembrandt van Rijn
Abraham Entertaining the Angels, 1656
Etched copper plate with drypoint
6 3/8 x 5 1/4 inches (16.2 x 13.3 cm)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Ladislaus and Beatrix von Hoffmann and Patrons’ Permanent Fund, 1997

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This copper plate, on which Rembrandt created his 1656 Abraham Entertaining the Angels, is a rare example of a plate that preserves Rembrandt’s original etched lines with no later reworking. It makes evident the contrast of light and dark around which the artist structured the image. On the right side of the plate, dense crosshatching creates the shadowy recesses of the doorway in which Sarah appears, while a minimum of marks in and around the figure of Ishmael produces the effect of gleaming sunlight.

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