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The Star of the Kings: A Night Piece

A work made of etching, drypoint, and engraving on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching, drypoint, and engraving on ivory laid paper.


c. 1651


Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606-1669

About this artwork

Rembrandt likely knew Jan van de Velde the Younger’s dark yet straightforward rendition of the Twelfth Night festivities, in which the artist bathed his star-singers in sufficient lantern light so that their features could be made out. In contrast, Rembrandt submerged his revelers in pitch blackness, with only a glimmer of light emanating from their star. Carrying it was an important role (here assumed by a child), and at the end of each verse, pulling a rope set the star in motion. Rembrandt suggested a second group of singers in the far left, clustered around their own tiny, bright star.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Rembrandt van Rijn


The Star of the Kings: A Night Piece


Holland (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1646–1656


Etching, drypoint, and engraving on ivory laid paper


Image/plate: 9.3 × 14.2 cm (3 11/16 × 5 5/8 in.); Sheet: 9.5 × 14.4 cm (3 3/4 × 5 11/16 in.)

Credit Line

The Charles Deering Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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