Rembrandt and the Passion by Peter Black (Prestel, £24.99)

First published in Books

THE Hunterian Museum in Glasgow owns the first Rembrandt picture ever to enter a British collection, a small monochrome work in shades of brown, known as his ‘Entombment’.

Author Peter Black, in this absorbing exhibition catalogue, tells us the story of this painting, from its first mention in an inventory made at the time of the artist’s insolvency in 1656 to the eighteenth century when John Hunter, founder of the Glasgow Museum, added it to his collection.

After having doubts about it being a possible sketch for a later etching, Peter Black relates it to the five works that make up the Passion series telling of Christ’s suffering and death, notably to a version of the entombment which is housed in a Munich gallery and beautifully reproduced here.

We are told of how Rembrandt collected different kinds of art works and natural objects for his own studies, finding his observation of these a vital way of forging his own unique compositions.

He worked alongside his friend Jan Lievens, both inspiring the other in structure and lighting both in painting and etching works beautifully compared in these pages.

We cannot help but be moved by this small version of the entombment and the publishers, Prestel, have brought it even further into our understanding by including superb enlarged reproductions of the paintwork and with diagrams from the present day illustrating the scientific research done to explore the working methods of the Great Master.

It is a book to savour and any art lover will relish turning its pages. One can only applaud such research, knowledge and first-class production.

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