The Three Crosses, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1653
When you scratch a line in an etching plate, it produces a small raised edge called a ‘burr’. The burr, which gives drypoint lines such a sumptuous velvety look, wears away quickly. As a result, the decorative effect of the technique diminishes and the representation becomes increasingly lighter. Here Rembrandt solved that problem by making areas of shadow darker again with extra lines, for example under the dog in the foreground.