Famous Illustrators: Rembrandt van Rijn

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It is written that Rembrandt created three illustrations in his career (art specifically made for publications), and this is one of them: The Marraige of Jason and Creusa. The etching was designed as an opening illustration for the frontpiece of Jan Six’s printed edition of his play, Medea, in 1648. Jan Six was a very important patron of Rembrandt.

Interestingly, Rembrandt’s image does not depict an actual scene from the play. Whether he chose to purposely show an event that was not described (the great American illustrator N.C. Wyeth used that approach often for his illustrations), or whether he was depicting a tableau vivant or living picture (a staged picture using actors and props created between acts) is unknown. Either way, the artist presents a dramatic and telling narrative moment, showing a glowing marraige scene beyond the shadows -shadows that hold the treacherous Medea, in the bottom right foreground.

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Jan Six portrait by Rembrandt