by Alain Chivilò
Donating is a very important act. If sincere the word takes on maximum meaning. A collection even in its single piece, as a gift to a organisation, institution, museum is a desire to allow total sharing, abandoning the concept of exclusivity.
Announcement from the Rijksmuseum: collectors Virginia E. Papaioannou and Simon Schama donated to the Rijksmuseum an original copper plate made by Rembrandt van Rijn in 1635, depicting the stoning of Saint Stephen. Rembrandt made 314 copper plates that served as the basis for his etchings. With this gift, there are now seven such plates in public ownership in the Netherlands, two of which are in the Rijksmuseum collection. The copper plate by Rembrandt is part of the temporary display Art in the Making, shedding light on the processes through which artists make their work, from preliminary sketch to final work of art. The display runs to 26 May 2024 in the Rijksmuseum Print Cabinets.
Simon Schama declared: “though we loved having this beautifully expressive copperplate with us for three decades and – while i had it on my desk while writing Rembrandt’s eyes – Ginny, our children, (including our artist son Gabriel) felt strongly that it ought to be seen by the public”.
As statement by the Director of the Rijksmuseum Taco Dibbits: “Rembrandt’s copper plates offer a fascinating glimpse into the artist’s working method. Until now there were six such copper plates in the Netherlands in public ownership and i am delighted that this gift from Simon Schama and Virginia E. Papaioannou means we are able to add a seventh”.
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), The Stoning of Stephen, copper plate, 1635. Gift of Sir Simon Schama and dr Virginia Eileen Papaioannou through the King Baudouin Foundation United States.
©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo