The rat catcher
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
1606 - 1669
This early etching is the first fully fledged genre scene in Rembrandt's work. The rat catcher carries a pole surmounted by a cage containing live rats, with a few poisoned specimens dangling below. His young assistant carries a box presumably containing rat poison or other wares. It is unclear whether the old man in the doorway is rejecting the proffered goods or turning away in disgust at the two pedlars, with their unsavoury merchandise and advertisements, after the transaction has taken place.
The rat killer
The rat poison seller
iii of 3 states
14.0 x 12.5 cm platemark; 14.1 x 12.6 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed and dated l.r., [incised plate] "RHL [artist's monogram] 1632".
Not on display
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Etchings by Rembrandt, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1948–1948
Everyday Life, prints, drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European Art:
Old Europe: Prints & drawings from the collection 1500-1800, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jun 2006–06 Aug 2006
European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014
Referenced in 2 publications
Everyday life: prints drawings and watercolours from the collections of Australian and European art, Sydney, 1994. cat.no: 104
National Art Gallery of New South Wales, Etchings by Rembrandt, Sydney, 1948. cat.no. 4, as 'The Rat Killer'