Unlike his compatriot Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn was never forgotten. Like a Beethoven of visual art, he has always been a beacon and has always inspired later artists. Famous for his biblical storytelling on a symphonic scale, he was also a supreme portraitist and master of the self-portrait in oils (he made more than forty). Public familiarity with Rembrandt’s oeuvre in the centuries before photography came from his unmatched mastery of the artist’s print. Just as Albrecht Dürer took copper-plate engraving to unequalled heights, so did Rembrandt in the new medium of etching, which allowed free fine-line drawing and the most subtle plays of shadow and light.