An image of The rat catcher

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

(Netherlands 1606 – 1669)

The rat catcher

Other titles:
The rat killer, The rat poison seller
Location
Not on display
Further information

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.

Year
1632
Media
Print
Medium
etching
Dimensions
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".

Credit
Purchased 1938
Accession number
6739