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New Rembrandt exhibition set to open at Norwich Castle

PUBLISHED: 18:09 19 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:28 19 October 2017

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Designer and technician, Holly Bessell, uncovers the title of the exhibition under Rembrandt's gaze. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Designer and technician, Holly Bessell, uncovers the title of the exhibition under Rembrandt's gaze. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

Out of the archives and into the spotlight - a little-known collection of work by master artist Rembrandt is set to take centre stage in the latest exhibition at Norwich Castle.

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Francesca Vanke, joint exhibition curator, with some of Rembrandt's work. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Francesca Vanke, joint exhibition curator, with some of Rembrandt's work. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness opens this Saturday and features prints, drawings and paintings by the famous 17th Century Dutch painter.

At the heart of the show is a rarely seen but significant group of etchings held in the archives of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

“It is the fourth largest collection of Rembrandt etchings in the country but it’s the least known up until now. They haven’t been seen as a group on display for the last 30 years,” said Dr Francesca Vanke, joint curator of the exhibition along with Dr Giorgia Bottinelli.

“They are works on paper so obviously they are very fragile and light susceptible and so you can only ever display them for a limited time. They are all available online to look at but the actual objects themselves, they can’t be exposed to light too often.”

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The impressive art collection - which Dr Vanke described as one of the most important and beautiful at the castle - was bequeathed to the museum in 1951.

“The etchings were given to us by Percy Moore Turner. He was an art dealer in London but he lived in Norfolk for part of his life. I think he must have been an early believer in the importance of public access to good art so he left us his own collection.”

Eighty of the 93 etchings feature in the show, and the detailed artworks display scenes from all walks of 17th Century life.

“I think Rembrandt was somebody who loved life. He was certainly somebody who lived life to the full...He lived right in the centre of Amsterdam which was a very major place in the 17th Century and a cultural centre. He would have seen all walks of life then and obviously enjoyed portraying them all,” said Dr Vanke.

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Francesca Vanke, joint exhibition curator, with some of Rembrandt's work. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Francesca Vanke, joint exhibition curator, with some of Rembrandt's work. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We really want people to enjoy looking really closely at Rembrandt’s prints because the more you look the more you can see.”

The show also includes some drawings and paintings by Rembrandt loaned from national museums and galleries.

The exhibition opens on Saturday and runs until January 7. Visit www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Sandra Martins, technician, unwraps one of the graphic panels. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Sandra Martins, technician, unwraps one of the graphic panels. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Sandra Martins, technician, unwraps one of the graphic panels. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Staff at the Norwich Castle Museum setting up the Rembrandt exhibition Rembrandt: Lightening the Darkness, showing the Norwich Museum's own collection of etchings, with some borrowed work. Sandra Martins, technician, unwraps one of the graphic panels. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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