Aesthetics & History: An Appreciation of the Collection
The Charles Bird King scrapbooks include more than 1,100 prints and a scattering of original drawings. For the most part, the works of art are by European artists; English and Dutch prints predominate. Many of the prints and drawings are of great value monetarily, aesthetically, and historically. Others were useful to King for their iconography and associations. The collection, however, is a landmark in the history of American art: it is one of only a few complete, extant collections of prints assembled by an American artist at the beginning of the 19th century. The King scrapbooks are significant from these two points of view:
1. Individual items in the scrapbooks are masterpieces in the history of art.
2. The entire collection is a landmark in the history of American art.
The collection includes a large number of unidentified prints as well as works of well-known artists such as Rembrandt (1606-1669). Below is one of several Rembrandt etchings in the King scrapbooks. On the following pages is a selection of works from the King scrapbooks. While they are limited in number, they indicate the depth and breadth of the collection.
Christ Preaching in the Temple
6.25" x 8.5"