Half Naked Woman by a Stove - Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Half-Naked Woman by a Stove by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - Nude Paintings from Hermitage Museum

Art Prints Detail

Half Naked Woman by a Stove
Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Medium: Prints, Etching, 23x18.6 cm
Date: 1658
Genre: Nude Painting
Source: Bequest of D. A. Rovinsky, 1897

This etching is perhaps Rembrandt’s finest print of a nude, and certainly embodies an unusual and touching aspect of his treatment of this subject, a kind of shy eroticism, a chaste nakedness, overt and tentative at the same time. His other etchings in the 1650s of women in various stages of undress show them sleeping, turned away from us, or in profile, very different from the explicit and dramatic versions of this subject from more than a quarter century earlier, in the early 1630s. This radiant image is an intimate and domestic successor, as it were, to the monumental painting of Bathsheba from 1654, in the Louvre; both figures are in profile, looking down without expression, thereby gaining greatly in gravity and spiritual depth.

This impression is from the final state of the print; there are two primary differences from the earlier states: the removal of the woman’s cap, and the addition of a key on the chimney of the stove. The first change allows the niche (or closed window) behind the woman’s head to reverberate around her; the second adds a tactile, down-to-earth detail to the scene that makes it more domestic and immediate. This is a beautiful, lifetime impression of one of Rembrandt’s most sensitive prints, with a remarkably subtle play of light and shadow throughout the room.