THE DRAWINGS OF REMBRANDT:  

a revision of Otto Benesch's catalogue raisonné

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Benesch 0500a

Subject: Two Men in Discussion near a Doorway

Verso: Blank

Medium: Pen and brown ink with some brown wash and touched with white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and (a different, warmer) brown ink. Signed below centre in the same ink as the drawing: “Rembrandt f 1641”

229 x 185. Watermark: Posthorn in crowned shield, ‘WR’ below (cf. Laurentius, p. 256, no.622 [1644]); chain lines: 26/27h; 17 laid/cm.

COMMENTS: A documentary drawing by Rembrandt, because it is signed and dated 1641. The signature seems unimpeachable and may, for example, be compared with that in Rembrandt’s fourth letter to Constantijn Huygens of January 1639 (see Fig.a).[1] The capital “R” in both is almost identical, with a heavier touch in and near the lower right tail; the “e” and “m” are connected with a gap before the “b” (in the drawing, the “b” lacks the usual loop at the top), the “a” and “n” are similar and joined up in both, with a gap before the “d”, which in turn loops towards the final “t”, which in the drawing is largely absent due to a missing fragment of paper.

The drawing was connected (by Benesch) with Rembrandt’s etching of the same year, the Three Oriental Figures (Jacob and Laban?), who also stand near a doorway, one clutching his belt in a similar fashion to the main figure in the drawing.[2] The iconography of both is uncertain – indeed, it has been argued that the drawing is merely a sheet with two independent figure studies – and there are many clear differences between them.[3] Rembrandt lavished particular care on the vivid portrait and detailed description of the figure on the left, who wears a costume reminiscent of Polish examples, and this suggests that the character and his costume were of some particular significance for the artist, but whether he was an exotic traveller or set up to be included in a biblical scene remains obscure.[4]

The style of the drawing, with its horizontal striations at the lower left of the shaded cloak, resembles Benesch 0759 of the previous year.

The drawing provides an example of the flaws in Benesch’s analytical methods, as the many drawings he compared with it all clearly deviate from it clearly and significantly in style (he compared Benesch 0488-89, Benesch 0491, Benesch 0497, Benesch 0498, Benesch 0500 and Benesch 0656).

Condition: Somewhat worn and faded; losses made up at top and centre-left, lower left, top and bottom centre (in the signature below); creases near left edge; foxed and light struck with general discolouration; the sheet has been cut on the right (where there is no framing line) and probably a little below, to judge from the signature.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt*

Date: 1641.

COLLECTION: GB London, The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery (Princes Gate Collection; inv. D.1978.PG.190).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: London, 1960, no.190; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51 (not a Biblical subject but two independent studies of figures); London, 1971, III, no.190, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1973, no.500a, repr. fig.658 (probably biblical subject; connected with the etching of Three Oriental Figures [Bartsch 118; NH 190]; compares Benesch 0488-89, Benesch 0491, Benesch 0497, Benesch 0498, Benesch 0500 and Benesch 0656); Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.238x; Sumowski, Drawings, IV, 1981, under no.953x; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.17, n.7 (comparing style with Benesch 0541); Exh. London, 1992, under nos.37-41 and 93, n.3, repr. p.224, pl.6 (as a reliable starting point for attributions); Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no. 21.1, repr. (suggests not drawn from life; and that the figure with his arm outstretched originally placed it on the ledge; signed because an example for Rembrandt’s pupils); London, 2010 (online), under nos 34-36, 74-75 and 105, n.3); Royalton-Kisch, 2011, pp.98-99, n.11 ; Royalton-Kisch and Schatborn, 2011, p.338, no.49, repr. fig.123 (documentary drawing); Exh. London-New York, 2012-13; Amsterdam, 2017, hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.28138 (accessed 2 September 2020); Schatborn, 2019, no. 365, repr..

PROVENANCE: Otto Wertheimer; O’Rooney, Ireland (according to Benesch); Count Antoine Seilern, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

[1] Strauss & Van der Meulen, 1979, RD 1639/3; Remdoc online: document/remdoc/e4459 [accessed 2 September 2020). On Rembrandt’s signatures, see also under Benesch 0057, n.7.

[2] Bartsch 118; NH 190.

[3] The Jacob and Laban idea for the etching may have been in Rembrandt’s mind; but a close inspection of the outstretched hand of the right hand figure in the drawing suggests it may hold a few coins or, perhaps, gems, suggesting a transaction may have been underway. Schatborn, in Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.21.1 , suggests the figures were drawn from memory and earlier examples, but the exacting detail and portrait character of the figure on the left rather argues that this was done from life. Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51, argued that the drawing is merely a sketch of two independent figures, and it is true that the gaze of the figure on the left does not seem to be directed at the man on the right; but as the drawing was cut at the right, he may have been looking towards another figure or motif.

[4] The left figure was identified in summary as Armenian from Turkey by Chroscicki, 1987, p.47, but without supporting evidence.

First posted 5 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0501

Subject: The Annunciation to the Shepherds (Luke, II, 8-20)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and greyish wash, heightened with white; ruled framing lines in pen and dark brown or black ink. Inscribed verso, upper centre (partly crossed out and erased): “338[?]6 / 331”; and beneath this in graphite: “32”; and below, in graphite: “G. Flinck / (Rembrandt? / Prof. Woermann)”

176 x 200 mm.

COMMENTS: In style, a characteristic example of drawings now assigned to the “Carel Fabritius” group (see under Benesch 0500).[1] Compare from this group perhaps especially Benesch 0505-6 and Benesch 0513. Benesch 0502, though more broadly drawn, is by the same hand and depicts the same subject, but it is hard to determine which drawing was made first: the more detailed style of the present drawing might argue for its being a more definitive and thus later version, though the looser style of Benesch 0502 might also argue for a later date in the artist’s still uncertain chronology.

Despite the change to a larger scale, it is clear that the design of the Hamburg drawing was inspired by Rembrandt’s etching of 1634 (Fig.a).[2] In 1639 his fellow Rembrandt-pupil, Govert Flinck, had already taken inspiration from this print for his own painting of the subject, now in the Louvre, which may also have been known to the draughtsman.[3] For two later drawn versions by Rembrandt, see Benesch 0999 and Benesch 1023.

Condition: Good; slight oxidation of the lead white pigment.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: D Hamburg, Kunsthalle (L.1328; inv.21945).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, I, 1925, no.289, repr. (c.1646-48);[4] Falck, 1927, pp.168-80; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Gerson, 1936, p.175, no. Z LXXI (Rembrandt, c.1648); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.501, repr. (c.1640-42; relates to group around Benesch 0500; Benesch 0502 another project with the same subject); Bialostocki, 1956, pp.366-67 (with Benesch 0502 similar to Van den Eeckout drawing in Warsaw [Exh. Warsaw, 1956, no.37]); Sumowski, 1961, p.9 (Flinck; with Munich, 1973, no.1092, inv.5146, related to Flinck’s painting in the Louvre, inv. 1291, Sumowski, Gem., no.615); Munich, 1973, under no.1092; Exh. Nice, 1975, no.21; Bernhard, 1976, p.93, repr. fig.293; Exh. Bremen, 2000–2001, pp.24-29 and no.63, repr. (heavenly sphere brought nearer the ground than in other versions; Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2002, under no.78; Hamburg, 2011, no.325, repr. (attrib. to C. Fabritius following observation of Bevers at 2008 symposium; compares Benesch 0502 and Jacob and Rachel in New York, Metropolitan Museum, inv. 06.1042.10); Exh. Amsterdam, 2012, no.37, repr. p.66; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Chevalier de Damery (L. 2862); W.A. Verbrugge; his sale, The Hague, 27 September, 1831 and following days, lot D12, bt by Georg Ernst Harzen (L. 1244; NH Ad:01:02, fol.23 as “Govert Flinck”: 7.5.6.; NH Ad: 02: 01, S. 251); bequeathed by Harzen 1863 to the “Städtische Galerie”, Hamburg, whence transferred to the present repository after its opening in 1869.

[1] My own notes suggested the attribution in 1987; Bevers came to the same conclusion by 2008, as recorded in Hamburg, 2011, no.325 (see Literature above).

[2] As recognised by Stefes in Hamburg, 2011, no.325.

[3] Inv.1291.

[4] Stefes, loc. cit., records a note of 1919 in which Valentiner informed Gustav Pauli that the drawing is not by Rembrandt but rather by Flinck or Van den Eeckhout; he must have changed his mind before Valentiner, 1925 (“Von W. Valentiner mit Bestimmtheit Rembrandt abgesprochen. Ev. für Flinck oder Eeckhout angesehen”); and that Karl Woermann also thought the drawing by Rembrandt (note on the verso).

First posted 7 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0502

Subject: The Annunciation to the Shepherds (Luke, II, 8-20)

Medium: Pen (and reed pen) and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white; traces of red chalk. Inscribed lower left, in blue chalk: "86" and towards the right in pen and brown ink: "5146"; inscribed verso in pen and brown ink: "117" and "1408" and in graphite: "R.brandt", "HdG 373" and "26".

167 x 242. Watermark: unclear, perhaps a foolscap.

COMMENTS: The drawing is one of the most boldly executed that may be included in the “Carel Fabritius” group of drawings, for which see under Benesch 0500. Compare for style especially the broad lines of Benesch 0506 and Benesch 0518b. The thick penlines also resemble the outer areas of the drawing of the same subject, Benesch 0501 (qv). In the present drawing many lines and washes resemble the appearance of the brush in oil paint, as seen especially in the underpaint of some of Fabritius’ paintings (see Fig.a). These comparisons help affirm the likelihood of the attribution.[1] See also the illustrations of this type under Benesch 0497A, Fig.a, and Benesch 0498A, Fig.a. As with other drawings in the group, the drawing is difficult to date, but its breadth and the apparent use of a reed pen might suggest that it is a late work of c.1650 or slightly later, the period when Rembrandt also employed this instrument on a regular basis.

Condition: Generally good.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (inv.1408).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Munich, 1884-93, no.45a, repr.; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.373; Saxl, 1908, p.341; Saxl, 1908.I, p.532; Neumann, 1918.I, no.67, repr.; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.292, repr. (late, c.1660); Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.502, repr. fig.625/662 (c.1640-42; relates animals to Benesch 0503-4 and Benesch 523; Bialostocki, 1956, pp.366-67 (with Benesch 0501 similar to Van den Eeckout drawing in Warsaw [Exh. Warsaw, 1956, no.37]; Exh. Munich, 1957, no.15; Wegner, 1966, p.104; Exh. Munich, 1966-67, no.21; Trautschold, 1967, p.117; Munich, 1973, no.1092, repr. pl.309; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.218x; Exh. Bremen, 2000-2001, under no.63; Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.78, repr. (Rembrandt?; 1640-42); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620; old inv.5146, as Rembrandt).

[1] The Raising of Lazarus, c.1643, Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe (Sumowski, Gemälde, II, 1983, no.601; Exh. The Hague-Schwerin, 2004, no.1) and the Hagar and the Angel, c.1643-45?, Leiden Collection, New York, (Sumowski, Gemälde, V, no. 2071, and VI, no. 2071; Exh. The Hague-Schwerin, 2004, no.2). Bevers also suggested the attribution in an e-mail to the compiler, 15 July 2020.

First posted 8 September 2020.

 

Benesch 0502a

Subject: David Taking Leave of Jonathan (1 Samuel, XX)

Medium: Pen (reed pen) and brown ink with brown and lighter, greyish-brown wash, with some white bodycolour.

131 x 217. Watermark: countermark “LB” (cf. Hinterding variant A.a.a., datable c.1650).

COMMENTS: Near the bridge in the distance, Jonathan’s servant is seen looking for the arrows.

In style the drawing belongs with the “Carel Fabritius” group (see under Benesch 0500). Although made with a reed pen, which gives the outlines, for example in the trees to the left, somewhat more breadth than usual, the characteristically curling lines, for example in the foliage on the right, is close enough to the trees on the left of both Benesch 0488 and Benesch 0496 to secure the attribution. There are also strong links with the broader lines in Benesch 0504 and Benesch 0506. As pointed out by Benesch (1955/73, no.0502a), the landscape with the bridge resembles Benesch 0792-93. The dependence here is on Rembrandt’s style in sketches like Benesch 0470, but in the Fabritius group the lines are somewhat more decorative and calligraphic. Although the reed pen is less broadly used than in Benesch 0502, the drawing, if by Fabritius, could also belong to the last decade of his short life, as is also suggested here by the watermark.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.5254).

Date: c.1645-50.

COLLECTION: Charles Gasc (according to Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.33); Adolf von Beckerath (1834-1915), with whose collection acquired in 1902 by the present repository in return for a lifetime annuity.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.574; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.33; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, II, 1914, no.17; Baudissin, 1925, p.191 (The Oath of Jonathan); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.157, repr. (c.1640-45; Jonathan Consoling David); Kauffmann, 1926, p.158, n.2; Berlin, 1930, p.222, inv.5254 (c.1645-50; Jonathan Taking Leave from David); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.268 (c.1645-50); Weski, 1942, p.141 (mid-1640s); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.502a, repr. (c.1640-42; compares for style Benesch 0502, Benesch 0503 and figures to right of Benesch 0504; landscape similar to Benesch 0792-93; subject and composition culminate in Benesch 0552 and in the Hermitage painting of 1642, Bredius 511; Wetering 188); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.96 (c.1645-50); Sumowski, 1961, p.10 (by Bol, as also Benesch 0496): Exh. Münster, 1994, pp.92 and 103, n.33; Berlin, 2018, no.70, repr. (C. Fabritius, c.1645; compares two drawings in Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: the Liberation of St Peter, inv. RP-T-1930-31, and the Messenger Presenting Saul’s Crown to David, inv.RP-T-1930-15, Benesch 0506; landscape compared with Benesch 0497); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Charles Gasc (according to Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.33); Adolf von Beckerath (1834-1915), with whose collection acquired in 1902 by the present repository in return for a lifetime annuity.

First posted 9 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0503

Subject: Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well (Genesis, XXIV, 15-22)

Verso: Laid down on card

Medium: Pen (reed pen) and dark brown ink with brown wash and some grey-brown wash (a few touches of wash, e.g. on Rebecca’s face, may be by a later hand); ruled framing lines in pen and dark brown ink mostly cut away but visible at top centre. Inscribed by a later hand, lower left, in pen and black ink: “Elieser et Rebeca gen. 24. v. 14” and lower right in pen and brown ink: “9147”

211 x 332. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: horizontal (distance apart uncertain).

COMMENTS: This is the most broadly drawn of the sketches that can be associated with the “Carel Fabritius” group of drawings (see under Benesch 0500). The sweeping lines exhibit a mature confidence that makes one suspect that it was drawn towards the end of Fabritius’ life. The gestural draughtsmanship seems especially comparable to Benesch 0502 and Benesch 0502a. In the former, the abbreviated animals at the lower left are particularly similar. See further under Benesch 0491 for other, more finished drawings of this subject by the same artist.

Condition: Good; slightly foxed and some whites oxidising.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650-54?

COLLECTION: USA Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art (Widener Collection; inv. 1942.9.665).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, I, 1925, no. 51, repr.; H. Comstock, International Studio, December, 1926, p.32; Exh. Chicago, 1935-36, no.41; Exh. San Francisco, 1939-40 (1941), no.81; Exh. Philadelphia, 1950-51, no.53, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.503, repr. (c.1640-42; refers to Benesch 0500 and Benesch 0502; notes copy in Weimar); Exh. Washington, 1969, no.30, repr.; Exh. Washington, 1978, p.56; Starcky, 1993, p.218, n.11 (listed with other drawings inscribed by Mariette); Exh. Washington-Fort Worth, 1990-91, p.166; Exh. Bremen, 2000-2001, p.70, repr. fig. a; Exh. Dresden 2004, under no.29, repr. fig.a (Rembrandt); Exh. Washington, 2006 (not mentioned in catalogue); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Pierre Crozat (with his inscription, recto);[1] his sale, Paris, 10 April - 13 May, 1741; George Guy, Earl of Warwick; his sale, London, Christie’s, 21 May 1896; Thomas Halstead; Joseph E. Widener, by whom presented to the present repository, 1942.

[1] See Schatborn, 1981, pp.41-46 on Mariette’s inscriptions.

First posted 10 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0504

Subject: The Dismissal of Hagar (Genesis, XXI, 14)

Medium: Pen (reed pen) and brown ink with some brown wash, on two sheets of paper, joined or re-joined and laid down.

173 x 273.

COMMENTS: For the subject, see Benesch 0524. This is a characteristic, if somewhat broader than usual, example of a drawing in the “Carel Fabritius” group (see under Benesch 0500). The foliage at the lower left may be compared with that at the lower right of Benesch 0497A, in which the figure of Elijah is picked out in more detail, as is the case here with the figure of Hagar. The cow on the right seems almost a twin of that in the lower left of Benesch 0502.

The use of the reed pen and the bold description of the landscape on the right argue for a late date and may be compared for style with the landscapes of the same period now attributed to Constantijn Daniël van Renesse (see, for example, Benesch 1367), which are certainly no earlier than the 1650s. If by Fabritius, the latest possible date would be the year of his death, 1654.

Of interest is the similarity between the figure of Abraham here and in Benesch 0549 (see the detail, Fig.a), a drawing of another subject and in a considerably more precise style.[1] The breadth of the handling here might suggest that it is the later of the two drawings, but it could also be argued that the present figure served as a model for his more finished counterpart. Indeed, although he climbs a step with his left foot, in Benesch 0549 he does not, but his foot still hints at the movement.

Yet more intriguing is the relationship between the drawing and the painting of the same subject of the early 1650s by Ferdinand Bol, now in St Petersburg (formerly in Moscow; see Fig.b):[2] the figure of Hagar is clearly dependent on the drawing, and the cow on the right also finds an echo there. The drawing shows no signs of having been derived from the painting – where Hagar’s right arm is at another angle and holds a kerchief. The angle of the head is also subtly different. It seems more likely that Bol took the figure either from the drawing, or that both artists were inspired by the same prototype, perhaps a lost work by Rembrandt.[3]

Condition: Generally good; some general discolouration and a few spots; see also under Medium above.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650-54?

COLLECTION: Private Collection?

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Frankfurt, 1924, no.45; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.21, repr. (c.1640-45; some unusual characteristics; relates to Abraham in Benesch 0549); Benesch, 1935, p.35 (c.1640-41); Hamann, 1936, p.554, repr. fig.117 (possibly by Bol, corrected in reed pen by Rembrandt; relates to Bol’s painting [see main Comments above]); Weski, 1944, pp.113-14 (Bol); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.504, repr. fig.627/665 (c.1640-42; used by Bol for his painting [on which see further under Comments above]); Sumowski, 1956/57, p.256 (school work); Drost, 1957, p.184, repr., detail repr. p.186, fig.209 (influenced by Elsheimer Ecce Homo, now in Frankfurt); Sumowski, 1959, p.288 (Bol); Sumowski, 1961, p./10 (school work because of derivation; perhaps Bol); Von Moltke, 1965, p.23 (Rembrandt); Blankert, 1976, p. 138, under no.A3 (possibly a studio work; style of Hagar relates to Hermitage picture [on which see Comments above]); Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, no.214x, repr. (Ferdinand Bol; mid-1640s; not retouched by Rembrandt; Abraham based on Benesch 0549; as Hamann, 1936 and Weski, 1944; relates Hagar to Bol’s Joseph in Prison, Hamburg, inv.22412, Sumowski 101, and Rest on the Flight into Egypt now in Düsseldorf, Sumowski 215x); Rubinstein in Sotheby’s sale catalogue, 2008 (C. Fabritius?; compares Rijksmuseum drawings attributed to him [here listed under Benesch 0500, n.1]); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: L. Grassi (L.1171b); W.R. Valentiner; his sale, Amsterdam, Mensing, 25 October, 1932, lot 1; Eldridge R. Johnson; by descent to Mr and Mrs George Fenimore Johnson, by whom sold, New York, Sotheby’s, 23 January, 2008, lot 168 ($37,000).

[1] As noticed by Valentiner, I, 1925, no.21.

[2] Sumowski, Gemälde, I, 1983, no. 92; the figure of Hagar in Barent Fabritius’ painting of the subject in San Francisco seems also to echo the figure, but is equally close to an earlier version by Pieter Lastman (see Sumowski, op. cit., III, no.547, repr.).

[3] Compare the example of Benesch 0475, in which Bol appears to have used a drawing that was not of his own making.

First posted 13 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0505

Subject: Zipporah at the Inn: The Angel Attacking Moses and Zipporah Circumcising their Son (Exodus, IV, 24-26)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some white bodycolour. Inscribed verso, in graphite, upper centre edge: "4"; and in the centre: "81"; lower left (unclear): "lElc [?]" and "CA" and "935"; lower left corner, in pen and brown ink: "Rembrant"

159 x 223.

COMMENTS: The subject was long thought to be The Angel Threatening Bileam but was correctly identified by Nieuwstraten (1966). Rare in art, the story of Zipporah at the Inn (the Angel Attacking Moses and Zipporah Circumcising their Son) has puzzled rabbis and other commentators for an eternity. In the New International Version of the Bible, the text runs: “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. ‘Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,’ she said. So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)”[1] The lines are usually interpreted as supporting the timely practice of circumcision, though why Moses, of all people, had failed to circumcise his own son remains mysterious. One theory is that he had delayed doing so while travelling to Egypt, but that the delay was not sanctioned by God. The original Hebrew adds to the difficulty by failing to clarify (because of the pronouns employed) exactly who is doing or saying what, and with what, to whom. Also uncertain is which of Moses’ two sons is referred to, Gershom or Eliezer.

In style, the drawing belongs clearly to the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500): compare, for example, the lower left to the same area of Benesch 0497A, and the landscape to the right with the background on the right of the same drawing.[2] There are some features of the drawing that appear to depend directly on models by Rembrandt, and one of them suggests a date: the aggressive pose of the angel, with the left arm stretched forward and the right bent back over the head, follows that of Jael in Benesch 0622a (see Fig.a); and in a general sense the present drawing also echoes that work in style. As the Rembrandt is datable to the 1650s, we may deduce that the drawing also belongs to this period or later; but as Fabritius died in 1654, if the drawing is indeed by him, the range is narrowed to c.1650-54. A second derivation from Rembrandt is the figure of Moses, who is based on the similarly posed figure of a man genuflecting near the centre of the etching, the Triumph of Mordechai of c.1641 (see Fig.b). Another possible, if slighter connection with Rembrandt may be adduced: the tree-trunk at the lower left, which was perhaps loosely inspired by the tree in Rembrandt’s etching, The Omval, of 1645 (see the detail Fig.c; Bartsch 209; NH 221).

Why this uncommon subject was chosen is mysterious. A rare painting of it by Claes Moeyaert of 1639, in the Hermitage, has little in common with the present drawing.[3] Much closer, however, is an early and uncharacteristic painting, thought to date from c.1640, by his pupil, Jan Baptist Weenix (1621 - c.1659; Fig.d).[4], which the drawing, significantly, resembles closely in the figure of the angel, albeit without the right arm being raised back over the head. Lesser echoes of the painting may occur in the billowing smoke and the placement of the circumcision as well as the landscape towards the right of the composition, but these are less immediately dependent. No connection between Weenix or Rembrandt or one of the latter’s pupils has previously surfaced, but it does appear that the artist responsible for the present drawing knew the painting (or another like it).[5] Is it possible that the subject had been treated by Rembrandt himself or another influential artist, such as Pieter Lastman?

Condition: Generally good; some very minor losses and spotting at or towards upper right corner.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650-54?

COLLECTION: GB London, The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery (Princes Gate Collection; inv. D.1978.PG.409).*

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, I, 1925, no.437, repr.; Paris, 1933, p.16, under no.1144; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.505, repr. (c.1640-42; subject the Angels and Balaam; compares Benesch 0488, Benesch 0496, Benesch 0500 and Benesch 0503-4); Sumowski, 1961, p.10; Rotermund, 1963, pp.90-91 and no.75, repr.; Nieuwstraten, 1965, p.63 (identifies subject, comparing painting in St Petersburg by Moeyaert [see n.2 below]); Chudzikowski, 1966, p.6, repr. p.4, fig.3 (inspired painting by Weenix [here fig.d]); London, 1971, no.409, repr. pl.xviii; Exh. London, 1983, no.17; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Leo Blumenreich (Berlin) [according to Alfred Brod catalogue]; Franz Koenigs, Haarlem (1881-1941), probably acquired after 1931 [when he sold off his first collection]; by descent to his son, W. Koenigs (1926-2009); his sale, London, Sotheby's, 23 March, 1960, lot 10; Alfred Brod Gallery (London; his catalogue, 1961, no.29) from which purchased by Count Antoine Seilern (14 November, 1961, £3,800), by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1978.

*I am grateful to Dr Rachel Hapoienu for forwarding a factsheet on the drawing from the Courtauld Institute.

[1] The Dutch Statenbijbel runs: “En het geschiedde op den weg, in de herberg, dat de Heere hem tegenkwam, en zocht hem te doden. Toen nam Zippora een stenen mes en besneed de voorhuid haars zoons, en wierp die voor zijn voeten, en zeide: Voorwaar, gij zijt mij een bloedbruidegom! En Hij liet van hem af. Toen zeide zij: Bloedbruidegom! vanwege de besnijdenis”. The Hebrew is (according to the Leningrad Codex):

24. ויהי בדרך במלון ויפגשהו יהוה ויבקש המיתו׃

25. ותקח צפרה צר ותכרת את־ערלת בנה ותגע לרגליו ותאמר כי חתן־דמים אתה לי׃

26. :וירף ממנו אז אמרה חתן דמים למולת׃ פ

[2] The Courtauld's factsheet on the drawing records that my attribution to Fabritius was noted in their file on the drawing on a copy of the 1983 exhibition catalogue entry. This was probably at the time of a study visit to the Courtauld in February 1988, when I made notes that suggest the attribution; and that later Holm Bevers, in remarks of 2010 ("Workshop, mid-1640s, close to Carel Fabritius/Hoogstraten") also invoked his name and that W.W. Robinson agreed with his assessment. My copy of Benesch is marked with this attribution with the date 1 December, 1987.

[3] Inv. 3092; St Petersburg, 1981, II, p.151. It was through this version that Nieuwstraten, 1965, p.63, correctly identified the subject. The subject was depicted again in another painting in the same collection by Cornelis Holsteijn (1618-58; inv. 2983) which probably also dates from the mid-seventeenth century, as does a landscape etching with the subject relegated to a corner by Anthonie Waterloo (Bartsch and Hollstein 135). The only other version that might date from around the time of Benesch 0505 or before seems to be the fresco by Perugino in the Sistine Chapel.

[4] National Museum, Warsaw, inv. M.Ob.433 (131418); Chudzikowski, 1966, repr. p.5, fig.4.

[5] Previous writers have assumed that the drawing preceded the painting.

First posted 17 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0506

Subject: The Messenger Brings Saul's Crown and Bracelet to David (2 Samuel, I, 1-10)

Medium: Pen (reed pen) and brown ink with grey and brown wash; three partly visible framing lines in brown ink. Inscribed on recto and verso by Esdaile in pen and brown ink, respectively: “WE” and “1835 WE” (see L.2617)

169 x 193. Watermark: none; chain lines: 25/27h.

COMMENTS: In style the drawing belongs in the “Carel Fabritius” group (see Benesch 0500) and was one of the first to be published under this suggested attribution.[1] Compare especially the kneeling messenger with the figures at the lower left of Benesch 0500. The broad striations in the canopy are also similar to Benesch 0496 (on the right) and - as with Benesch 0502 – to the underpaint of Carel Fabritius’ painting of the Raising of Lazarus, thought to date from c.1643 (see Fig.a).[2] Nevertheless, the breadth of the drawing and the bold use of the reed pen argue for a somewhat later date. The fluency and speed of execution is at times made manifest by the failure of the ink to settle on the page as the nib skimmed quickly across the surface, for example in the diagonal shading around the messenger and in David's right arm, but also in some of the other profiles and even in a few of the broadest lines (like the verticals above the messenger).

The episode depicted shows David - here represented in one of the most convincing individual characterisations to be found among the drawings in the "Carel Fabritius" group - receiving the news that Saul and his sons have been killed in battle, from a messenger who brings Saul’s crown and bracelet. After a period of weeping, David had the messenger executed, despite the fact that he himself had ordered Saul’s death. Although correctly identified by Buberl in 1906 (see Wickhof, 2006 in Literature below), the drawing was until long after this still erroneously thought to represent either The Presents of the Queen of Sheba Brought to Solomon (in the 1840 sale catalogue and perhaps earlier), or Mordechai before Ahasuerus (by Valentiner, 1925), or David Dismissing Uriah (by I. Linnik, as recorded by Kahr, 1965, n.22).

Condition: Generally good; some foxmarks in the background, centre left.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (Cornelis Hofstede de Groot Gift; L.2228; inv. RP-T-1930-15).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1878-79, no.468; Lippmann, II, 100; Exh. The Hague, 1902, no.57; Exh. Leiden, 1903, no.24; Exh. Leiden, 1906, no.22; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.100 (Mordechai before Ahasuerus); Wickhof, 1906, p.13, no.8 (subject identified By P. Buberl as the Messenger Brings Saul's Crown and Bracelet to David); Exh. Paris, 1908, no.327; Saxl, 1908, p.342 (c.1655); Hofstede de Groot, 1909, no.20; Amsterdam, 1911, p.8; Exh. Amsterdam, 1913, no.16; Exh. Leiden, 1916, no.92 (c.1663); Hirschmann, 1917, p.20; Seidlitz, 1917, p.252 (Rembrandt?); Bredt, II, 1921, repr. p.100; Benesch, 1922.I, p.35 (not Rembrandt); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.199, repr. (c.1648; ); Bredt, II, 1927, p.100; Van Dyke, 1927, p.89 (by Horst); Exh. The Hague, 1930, no.14 (c.1663); Hell, 1930, p.98 (1640s); Benesch, 1935, p.35 (c.1640-41); Amsterdam, 1942, no.57 (c.1647); Rembrandt Bible, 1947, no.30, repr.; Exh. Rome-Florence, 1951, no.78 (c.1645); Rembrandt Bijble (Bibeln), 1954, no.68, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.506, repr. (c.1640-42; groups with Benesch 0500, Benesch 0502 and especially Benesch 0507); Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956, no.123 and p.20 (c.1645); Exh. Brussels-Hamburg, 1961, no.53; Rembrandt Bijbel, 1962, repr. p.257; Rotermund, 1963, no.106, repr. p.142; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.72; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under nos. 218x and 219x; Amsterdam, 1985, no.61, repr. (suggests attribution to C. Fabritius; compares the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Liberation of St Peter in the Rijksmuseum. Inv. RP-T-A-217 and RP-T-1930-31, Amsterdam, 1985, nos.62-63); Schatborn, 2006, pp.130-31, and 135-47, repr. fig.1 (as Amsterdam, 1985; also compares underpaint in Fabritius’ paintings and figure in centre background with Benesch 0497); Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.21.2 (C. Fabritius); Exh. Amsterdam, 2014, no. 15, repr. (C. Fabritius); Berlin, 2018, p.137, under no.70, repr. (c.1645-48; as comparison with Benesch 0502a); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2184 – poorly stamped, see Fig.b); Thomas Lawrence (L. 2445); Samuel Woodburn (dealer); in 1835 to William Esdaile (L. 2617; see under Benesch 0286); his sale, London, Christie and Manson, 17 June, 1840, lot 46, as Rembrandt (“The Presents of the Queen of Sheba brought to Solomon”), bt Heath, 5s; Jefferey Whitehead (by 1879, according to London, 1879, p. 117, no. 468); Paul Mathey; P. & D. Colnaghi, London; acquired after 1900 by Cornelis Hofstede de Groot (according to his notes, RKD), by whom donated to the present repository in 1906, with usufruct until 1930.

[1] By Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985 no.61 (see Literature).

[2] Warsaw, Muzeum Narodowe (Brown, 1981, no.1, repr.; Sumowski, Gemälde, II, 1983, no.601, repr.; Exh. The Hague-Schwerin, 2004-5, no.1, repr.).

First posted 20 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0507

Subject: Isaac Blessing Jacob (Genesis, XXVII, 1-40)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash.

245 x 205.

COMMENTS: The style connects the drawing to the “Carel Fabritius” group, for which see under Benesch 0500. As well as similarities with the other versions of the subject, Benesch 0508-0510,[1] the style relates also to Benesch 0505, not least in the shading, both vertical and diagonal, and in the characteristic combination of almost painterly, broad lines and wash with some finer, more disciplined draughtsmanship.

To some degree the composition echoes that of a painting of the subject by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, dated 1642.[2] See further under Benesch 0509.

Condition: Not seen.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: Private Collection (?; formerly Berlin, Van Diemen [dealer]).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, II, 1934, no.,432, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.507, repr. (c.1640-42; compares Benesch 0500 and Benesch 0502, and especially Benesch 0506 and Benesch 0508; the latter drawing and Benesch 0509 of the same subject); Amsterdam, 1981, under no.39); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.64, n.4 (C. Fabritius? Compares Rijksmuseum drawing of the same subject, inv. RP-T-1886-A-629 which described as a copy). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: D Berlin, Van Diemen (dealer).

[1] Another version in the "Carel Fabritius" group is known through what is probably a copy in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (inv. RP-T-1886-A-629; described as a copy by Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985, no.64, repr.).

[2] In the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv.25.110.16; see Sumowski, Gemälde, II, no. 397, repr.).

First posted 21 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0508

Subject: Isaac Blessing Jacob (Genesis, XVII, 1-40)

Verso: Laid down on paper

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some white bodycolour.

125 x 173. Watermark: none visible.

COMMENTS: The style places the drawing in the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500). As well as with the penwork, wash and liquid hatching in the three other drawings by this hand of the same subject (Benesch 0507 [qv] and Benesch 0509-10; less close is Benesch 1065), similarities in the broad handling are also clear in Benesch 0506, especially in the drapes. Benesch himself (1955/73) rightly compared Isaac’s left hand with Christ’s in Benesch 0518.

A copy is in Berlin.[1]

Condition: Generally good.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: NL Groningen, Groninger Museum (inv. 1931-195).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, I, 1925, no.62; Kauffmann, 1926, p.175, note; Exh. The Hague, 1930, I, no.96; Exh. Groningen, 1931, no.96; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Oxford, 1938, p.74; Rembrandt Drawings for the Bible, 1947, no.9, repr.; Exh. Groningen, 1948, no.102; Exh. Groningen, 1952, no.67; Exh. Groningen, 1952.I, p.3; Exh. The Hague, 1955, p.12; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.508, repr. fig.632/668 (c.1640-42; compares Benesch 0507 and for the left hand of Isaac, the Christ in Benesch 0518); Exh. The Hague, 1955, no.36; Rotermund, 1963, p.17, repr.; Groningen, 1967, no.59, repr. p.185; Exh. Padua-Florence-Venice, 1968, no.234, repr. fig.19; Exh. Groningen, 1978; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.64, n.4 (Carel Fabritius group); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: J. Barnard (?); Joshua Reynolds (?); Thomas Lawrence (?); William Esdaile; his sale, London, Christie’s, 18 May, 1840, lot 47 (?);[2] Samuel Woodburn (dealer); his sale, London, Christie’s, 4 June, 1860, lot 778; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.; sale, London, 20 July, 1914, lot 44; Hilgrove Cox; his sale, London, 8 March 1922, lot 62; Hollandsche Kunsthandel, Amsterdam, 1923 (dealer); C. Hofstede de Groot (inv. 788) by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1930.

[1] Inv. 8513; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.24; Berlin, 1930, I, p.245; Berlin, 2018, no.157.

[2] According to Groningen, 1967, no.59. Barnard’s mark, L.1419, Reynolds’, L.2364, and Esdaile’s, L.2617, were not recorded by Benesch, 1955/73 (see Literature). For Lawrence and Esdaile, see under Benesch 0286.

First posted 26 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0509

Subject: Isaac Blessing Jacob (Genesis, XVII, 1-40)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and some grey wash.

186 x 249.

COMMENTS: This is perhaps the most satisfactory composition among the drawings (Benesch 0507 [qv], Benesch 0508 and Benesch 0510; less close is Benesch 1065) of the same subject that belong in the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500). The description of Isaac is here realised in fuller detail and is comparable in this respect to the Hagar in Benesch 0504. The versions in the group are all related in style and the broad handling of the drapes in the present example resembles that in Benesch 0506.

Rembrandt and his pupils depicted the subject frequently and versions, for example, by Flinck, Van den Eeckhout, Horst, Maes and Abraham Van Dijck are known. The subject had been popular since the Renaissance. See also Benesch 0891-92 and Benesch 0984. A woodcut by Holbein published in 1525-26 in his “Icones” may have acted as an inspiration (see Fig.a).[1]

Condition: Uncertain (not seen).

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: Formerly Vienna, Oskar Bondi (according to Benesch, 1955/73).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Parker, 1931, repr.; pl.55; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 1947, no.118, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.509, repr. (c.1640-42; compares Benesch 0508; 1656 Kassel painting [on which see Comments above] reflects the drawing; also compares Benesch 0507 and for style, Benesch 0660 and Benesch 0732; the several drawings suggest Rembrandt already planned a painting of the subject in the early 1640s); Benesch, 1960, no.38, repr.; Konstam, 1977, pp.94 and 97 (suggests Rembrandt used mirror images in the different versions); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.64, n.4 (C. Fabritius group; compares Amsterdam version, RP-T-1886-A-629 [on which see Comments above]); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence; William Esdaile; Warwick Castle (L.2600) from which sold, London, Sotheby’s, 17 June, 1936, lot 133 (all provenance details from Benesch, 3, 1955/73).[2]

[1] See Hollstein, XIVa, p.207, no.100.6.

[2] For the acquisition of the Lawrence drawings by Esdaile, see under Benesch 0286. Photographs do not reveal the collector’s marks of the owners named by Benesch.

First posted 27 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0510

Subject: Isaac Blessing Jacob (Genesis, XVII, 1-40)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash; ruled framing lines in open and dark brown ink. Inscribed verso: "2636" and, lower right: "120"

110 x 171.

COMMENTS: For the attribution to the “Carel Fabritius” group, see the note to Benesch 0500. Benesch 0507-9 are stylistically related drawings of the same subject (see under Benesch 0508), but the handling here is somewhat less crisp and in this there are links with Benesch 0501-2.

A copy of the drawing is in Basel.[1]

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: F Angers, Museé Turpin de Crissé (inv.MTC 4981).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Recouvreur, p.244, no.232; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.510, repr. fig.633/670 (c.1640-42; relates to Benesch 0507 and for style to Benesch 0508); Rosenberg, 1959, p.112 (perhaps a copy or pupil’s work); Morant, 1962, repr. fig.15; Sumowski, 1961; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.13; Exh. London-Liverpool-Dublin-Birmingham, 1977-78, no.85, repr. pl.96 (as Benesch); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.64, n.4 (C. Fabritius group); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Sir John St Aubyn, Bt (L.1534); his sale, London, April, 1940, perhaps lot 1050; Jean Gigoux; Etienne-Marie Saint-Genys, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1915.

[1] Formerly in the Robert von Hirsch collection (Exh. Frankfurt, 1924, repr. pl.li; noted by Benesch, 1935, p.35 before the original became known).

First posted 24 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0510

Subject: Isaac Blessing Jacob (Genesis, XVII, 1-40)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash; ruled framing lines in open and dark brown ink. Inscribed verso: "2636" and, lower right: "120"

110 x 171.

COMMENTS: For the attribution to the “Carel Fabritius” group, see the note to Benesch 0500. Benesch 0507-9 are stylistically related drawings of the same subject (see under Benesch 0508), but the handling here is somewhat less crisp and in this there are links with Benesch 0501-2.

A copy of the drawing is in Basel.[1]

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: F Angers, Museé Turpin de Crissé (inv.MTC 4981).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Recouvreur, p.244, no.232; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.510, repr. fig.633/670 (c.1640-42; relates to Benesch 0507 and for style to Benesch 0508); Rosenberg, 1959, p.112 (perhaps a copy or pupil’s work); Morant, 1962, repr. fig.15; Sumowski, 1961; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.13; Exh. London-Liverpool-Dublin-Birmingham, 1977-78, no.85, repr. pl.96 (as Benesch); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.64, n.4 (C. Fabritius group); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Sir John St Aubyn, Bt (L.1534); his sale, London, April, 1940, perhaps lot 1050; Jean Gigoux; Etienne-Marie Saint-Genys, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1915.

[1] Formerly in the Robert von Hirsch collection (Exh. Frankfurt, 1924, repr. pl.li; the copy noted by Benesch, 1935, p.35 before the original became known).

First posted 24 September 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0511

Subject: Study for a Presentation in the Temple (Luke, II, 22-40)

Verso: Laid down (see Inscriptions)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with warmer, paler brown ink in the shadows below (presumably a later addition),[1] on two joined pieces of paper. Inscribed on the backing paper: “Ryn / Guillaume Van / dit Rembrandt, né aux environs / de Leyde en 1606, mort en 1664 ou 1674 / Elève de P. Lastman / of h = O,162 = O, 142 / Collection Paul-Emile Gasc) / Ch. Gasc” (cf. L.1068), and lower right in graphite: “Rembrand /”

164 x 142. Watermark: none visible.

COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0486 (qv), the drawing has been connected with Rembrandt’s etching of the same subject of c.1639 (Fig.a; Bartsch 49; NH 184). But the relationship is a loose one, apart from the dependence in the larger Virgin on the left on one of the figures behind Simeon in the print, and the style suggests the period around a decade later. An alternative theory, that the drawing is by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout and a study for his painting of the subject formerly in Berlin (Fig.b; Sumowski, Gemälde, II, 1983, no.435, repr.) seems little nearer the mark, not least because the style of Benesch 0511 departs significantly from anything securely by him.[2]

Whether it is a coincidence that the sheet of Benesch 0486 is torn in a similar way is unascertainable. To judge from the ink blotches immediately in front of the Virgin’s skirt where the two sheets meet, it was a mistake on the right that was replaced. Based on the style and the rather static poses, delineated with spare lines and deliberate hatching, the drawing looks to be from around 1650 or later – one might even compare Rembrandt’s drawing, Benesch 1169a, of the mid-1650s); and although the draughtsman seems to have known Benesch 0486, the quality suggests a less than distinguished pupil.[3]

Condition: Foxed, especially in the upper half of the sheet; otherwise good; made up of two pieces of paper.

Summary attribution: Anonymous Rembrandt School.

Date: c.1650-55?

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beunungen (inv. R 46).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, I, 1925, no.311, repr. (Rembrandt or Van den Eeckhout?); Benesch, 1935, p.36; Amsterdam, 1942, p.50, under no.100; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.511, repr. fig.665/672 (c.1640-42; compares style of Benesch 0512; with Benesch 0486 “more or less connected with the etching”); Pigler, 1956, I, p.247; Pont, 1958, pp.71-72, n.1; Sumowski, 1959, p.289; Sumowski, 1961, p.10; Sumowski, 1962, pp.32 and 39, repr. fig.48 (Van den Eeckhout for painting formerly in Berlin); Haak, 1968, p.167, repr. fig.261; Rotterdam, 1969, p.79, repr. fig.199; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.204x (as Sumowski, 1962); Sumowski, Drawings, III, 1980, no.811xx, repr. (as Sumowski, 1962); Amsterdam, 1981 under no.8, repr. fig.a (Rembrandt or pupil; relates to Benesch 0486, also torn, of the same subject; ); Rotterdam, 1988, no.65 (as Sumowski, 1980; connection with painting not watertight; Rembrandt’s etching [on which see comments above] probably the model); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: A.P.E. Gasc (L.1131); Charles Gasc (L.543 and L.1068); N. Beets (dealer; according to Valnetiner, 1925, no.311); F. Koenigs (L.1023a); presented by D.G. van Beuningen to the Stichting Museum Boijmans, 1940.

[1] As suggested by Benesch, 1955/73, no.511.

[2] The drawing of the subject in Edinburgh (repr. under Benesch 0485, fig.e) is also not close and its attribution to Van den Eeckhout similarly uncertain.

[3] Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.511, compared Benesch 0512, which we place in the “Carel Fabritius” group, but the analogies with that drawing – and others in the group – do not seem to be sufficiently convincing.

First posted 4 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0511a

Subject: The Incredulity of St Thomas (John, XX, 24-29)

Medium: Pen (reed pen?) and brown ink on two pieces of paper pasted together vertically left of centre.

184 x 275.

COMMENTS: This ambitious drawing, regarded by Benesch as “magnificent”, belongs in style with the “Carel Fabritius” group (on which see under Benesch 0500). Compare the figure of Christ with St Philip in Benesch 0488, in which the wash at the lower left is also similar, and with Benesch 0512 as well as Benesch 0514-15.

Benesch 0869 (Fig.a) is a variant, probably based on the version formerly in the Hingst collection, The Hague (Fig.b).[1]. Christ and St Thomas are posed similarly (though with Christ’s right arm placed somewhat higher) and the design includes comparable groups of figures to either side. These versions, both drawn using a reed pen, may have been made by other members of Rembrandt’s workshop at the same time as Benesch 0511a and the medium suggests a date in or after c.1650.[2] Compare also Benesch 1010 and Benesch C94. Perhaps later are Rembrandt’s etching of 1656 (Fig.c, where illustrated in reverse; Bartsch 89; NH 296), despite some analogies in the design, as well as the drawing by Aert de Gelder (Louvre; RF 38384).[3] If contemporaneous with the etching, then the attribution of Benesch 0511a and the remainder of the group to Carel Fabritius, who died in 1654, should probably be discounted.

Rembrandt first depicted the subject in his painting of 1634, now in Moscow (Bredius 552; Wetering 127).

Condition: Uncertain (not seen).

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650?

COLLECTION: F Paris, art market (1990).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.511a, repr. fig.637/673 (c.1640-42; accepted as “magnificent” Rembrandt enthusiastically; compared with Rembrandt’s c.1639 etching of the Presentation in the Temple, Bartsch 49; NH 184, and with Benesch 0511, Benesch 0512, Benesch 0512a and Benesch 0512-14, these last three also for the pose of Christ; the right section replaced after the first draught divided; division of the sheet also seen in Benesch 046, Benesch 0495 and Benesch 0511); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.112 (Rembrandt); Benesch, 1960, no.42, repr.; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.86, repr. fig.86b (Rembrandt; discussing Rijksmuseum and formerly Hingst collection versions [on which see Commentary above]); Exh. Paris-Philadelphia-Detroit, 2011, repr. fig. 1.5; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: François Heim; Georges Renand; his sale, Paris, Millon (Drouot), 31 May, 1988, lot 13, repr. and 11 June, 1990, lot 85, repr. (noting that Schatborn was not convinced the drawing by Rembrandt [see Amsterdam, 1985 under Literature above]).

[1] Discussed and repr. Amsterdam, 1985, p.183, under no.86, fig.86a (with further Literature in n.2).

[2] In loc. cit, Schatborn suggests both drawings were made by Samuel van Hoogstraten.

[3] Exh. Dordrecht , 1998-99, no.61, repr.; Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, under no.40, repr. p.235, fig.40a.

First posted 7 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0512

Subject: Joseph Reveals Himself to his Brothers (Genesis, XLV, 1-5)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown (and also darker brown) wash and some white bodycolour. Inscribed, lower right, in pen and brown ink: “Rembrandt Van Ry[n]”

210 x 323.

COMMENTS: That the drawing belongs with the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500) is suggested by the comparisons made by Benesch (1955/73), despite his belief that these drawings were all by Rembrandt: Benesch 0500, Benesch 0510 and Benesch 0513-14. For the figures, compare also Benesch 0612. The design is among the more ambitious within the Fabritius group, yet the handling of the chiaroscuro seems less controlled than in Benesch 0500, which could imply that the present drawing is somewhat later.

The story of Joseph preoccupied Rembrandt and his followers considerably. Here, the youth seated on the step, has been plausibly identified as Benjamin.[1] He may reflect knowledge of the pensive individual seated to the left of centre in the Hundred Guilder Print of c.1648 (Bartsch 74; NH 239).

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650-54?

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (Collection E. de Rothschild, inv. 190 DR [formerly 1150 bis]; Louvre inventory, vol. 1, p. 6).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Heseltine Drawings, 1907, no.68; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.305; Exh. Paris, 1937, no.81; Paris, 1939, no.1; Exh. Paris, 1947, no.142, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1954; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.512, repr. (c.1640-42; relates to Benesch 0500, as also Benesch 0510 and Benesch 0513-14); Sumowski, 1961, p.10 (Bol); Rotermund, 1963, no.67, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.196, repr.; Albach, 1972, pp.120-21, repr.; Albach, 1979, p.26, fig.26; Sumowski, III, 1980, under no.811xx (Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.76, repr. (circle of Rembrandt; close to Bol; compares Sarah Presenting Hagar to Abraham, Benesch A51 also in Louvre [inv.22996, which included as Bol in same catalogue, no.87]; chair resembles that in Benesch 0528); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.133 (Bol?, comparing Amnon and Tamar, Benesch A52 [Louvre inv.22935, included as Bol in Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.88]); Exh. London, 1992, under no.91 and n.3 (school of Rembrandt; associated with drawings tentatively ascribed to Fabritius); Exh. Paris, 2007, no.145, repr.; Lugt online, 2016, under L.1507 [accessed 8 October 2020] (one of a group of drawings acquired at the Heseltine sale by E. de Rothschild and now in the Louvre); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Lucien [?] Guiraud (dealer); J.P. Heseltine (L.1507); his sale, Amsterdam, Muller, 27-28 May, 1913, bt Strölin and Danlos for Baron Edmond de Rothschild, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1935.

First posted 10 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0512a

Subject: The Captive Christ Being Led to Caiaphas (John, XVII, 12–14)

Verso: Laid down on cream paper

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some white heightening on pale brown paper. Inscribed below Christ’s feet, but subsequently washed over: “Rembrandt” [?] (see the black and white detail) and verso (visible in transmitted light) upper right, in pen and ink: “[illegible] / [6601?]” and on verso of the backing sheet, upper left, in graphite: “HJH” [first two letters crossed out] and upper centre, also in graphite: “Rembrandt”

182 x 234.

COMMENTS: The bound Christ being led into an interior is an unusual iconography and the drawing has rightly been assumed to show him immediately before his trial by the Sanhedrin, presided over by the High Priest, Caiaphas, as related in all four gospels. The trial itself was commonly represented in European art.

The composition, though less elaborate, has been related to the Night Watch of 1642 (Bredius 410; Wetering 190), of which there are many echoes: the two central figures in highly contrasted tonalities (reversed in the painting), the attendant captors with pikes and spears and the short, helmeted figure, here to the right. The character of the face in profile between Christ and the darker, armour-clad guard holding him resembles the old woman in Benesch 0677-78. But given the overall looseness of style, the drawing has attracted negative commentary and has been simplistically dismissed as a later pupil’s derivation. As so often with feely drawn compositions, Ferdinand Bol is the name most likely to be invoked; but as is also argued under Benesch 0475, with several illustrations (there Figs.b-d), Bol’s fluid technique does not compare closely with the varied touch of Benesch 0512a, where we find a combination of broadly applied, thick lines alongside delicately shaded passages that seems closer to Rembrandt than Bol.

Various comparisons further undermine the “Bol” theory: the second soldier from the left, almost obscured between his moustachioed companion and Christ’s back, resembles a figure in the documentary drawing by Rembrandt – for the Hundred Guild Print of c.1648, Benesch 0188 (see Fig.a) – closely enough to trigger a fresh enquiry. It also suggests that the drawing, usually dated to the early 1640s, could be later than previously thought, an idea that is reinforced by a second comparison, with Benesch 1172: not only does the general liquidity, the delineation of the architecture and the application of the wash exhibit similarities, but also such details as the hands of Christ and those of the man at the table (see the detail Fig.b). In addition, the liquid handling of the Hamburg study for the etching of St Jerome in an Italian Landscape of c.1653, Benesch 0886, replicates many of the loosely touched qualities of the Cleveland drawing (see Fig.c): compare the details of the Saint's legs with those of Christ, as also the free pen-lines and the broad use of wash. Further encouragement is given by Benesch 0485 (which is here re-assigned to Rembrandt), in which the liquid outlining, for example in the figures carrying Christ’s legs and torso, is frequently analogous to the short-statured soldier to the right of Benesch 0512a.

Overall, it appears preferable to attribute the drawing to Rembrandt, albeit with a question mark. As the documentary drawings relate, the varied styles he could practise from around the mid-1640s until the mid-1650s, from the restraint and feather-light touch of the Homer (Benesch 0913) to the breadth of the portraits of Sylvius (Benesch 0763) and Jan Six (Benesch 0767), as well as the St Jerome (here Fig.c) and the Child Being Taught to Walk (Benesch 1169), will remain difficult to pin down and, therefore, sometimes controversial. But the lack of comparisons with studio works, combined with the inventiveness of the iconography, as well as the effortlessly crafted balance and coherence of the overall composition – reminiscent of the poise of Raphael’s designs for the Vatical Loggia – render it hard to assign the drawing to a pupil rather than Rembrandt without considerable reserve.[2]

Condition: Good; a minor repair near lower left edge.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt?

Date: c.1652?

COLLECTION: USA Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art (J.C. Hanna Fund purchase; inv. 1960.187).[1]

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.512a, repr. fig. 636/675 (c.1641-42; compares Benesch 0493, Benesch 0495, Benesch 0512, Benesch 0661 and Benesch 0733; compositional affinities with The Night Watch); Cleveland Museum of Art. Handbook, 1966 and 1969, repr. p.123 and 1978, repr. p.158; Exh. Cleveland, 1960-61; Richards, 1961, pp.3-4, repr. on the cover (c.1641-42; compares with Night Watch, Triumph of Mordechai etching and the Christ to Lucas van Leyden’s engraving from the Round Passion: Christ Before the High Priest, 1509, Bartsch 59; relates figure holding Christ to his counterpart in Benesch 0645, where brought round to the front and seen from behind); Exh. Cleveland, 1963; Exh. Cleveland, 1965; Exh. Cleveland, 1965.I; Exh. Cleveland, 1968; Exh. Cleveland, 1973; Exh. Cleveland, 1982; Exh. Cleveland, 1983; Miller, 1987, pp.125-28, repr. opp. p.127; Exh. Cleveland, 1989; Exh. Cleveland, 2012; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Rev. Thomas Carwardine (according to 1952 Probert sale catalogue); Col. Oliver Probert; his sale, London, Christie's, 16 May, 1952, lot 43, repr. (800 guineas; advertised Burlington Magazine, 94, May, 1956, p.iii, repr.); Ruzicka Foundation, Zurich (according to Benesch); Marianne Feilchenfeldt, Zurich (dealer) from whom acquired by the present repository, 1960.

[1] Much of the exhibition history is taken from the Museum’s website:

https://clevelandart.org/art/1960.187 (accessed 12 October 2020).

[2] The apparent influence of Raphael’s Vatican Loggia frescoes is also mentioned under Benesch 0475.

First posted 15 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0513

Subject: Christ Awakening The Disciples on the Mount of Olives (Matthew, XXVI, 45-46; Mark, XIV, 41-42; Luke, XXII, 45-46)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, with white bodycolour. Inscribed upper right: “115 / Ryn”

168 x 208.

COMMENTS: A characteristic example of a drawing belonging to the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500, where it is pointed out that many of the drawings in the group depict incidents in the story of Christ’s Passion). Benesch (1955/73) described the similarities to other drawings in the group as “not only in the brittle structure of the figures but also in the application of rich washes”, although he retained the attribution to Rembrandt. For the figures, compare Benesch 0514-15, and for the wash Benesch 0500 and Benesch 0512. The trees on the right resemble Benesch 0498, while those on the left are close to one on the right of Benesch 0523. The nearest figure, the awakening St Peter, seems to adumbrate the Jonah in Benesch 0950.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650?

COLLECTION: CH Bern, private collection?

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1504; Hofstede de Groot, 1910, no.24, repr.; Valentiner, II, 1934, no.447, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.512, repr. (c.1641-42; relates to Benesch 0512); Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.245x (Rembrandt); Exh. Paris-Philadelphia-Detroit, 2011, no.21, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Dirk Vis Blokhuyzen (1799-1869); A. Straeter; his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 10-14 May, 1898, lot 1175, repr.; Prince of Liechtenstein; his sale, Stuttgarter Kunstkabinett, 18th auction, 1953. no.854; Dr Bernhard Sprengel; Eberhard Kornfeld (Bern).

First posted 18 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0514

Subject: The Temptation of Christ (Matthew, IV, 1–11; Mark, I, 12–13; Luke, IV, 1–13)

Medium: Pen and brown ink; the paper extended below with a 10mm strip with later work in pen and brown ink. Inscribed on the added strip, lower right: ”5031” and lower left in blue: “96”

185 x 220.

COMMENTS: The drawing belongs in style with the “Carel Fabritius” group, for which see Benesch 0500a. For the figures, compare, for example, Joseph in Benesch 0512 and the protagonists in Benesch 0545. The broad but fine-pointed penmanship of the landscape on the left resembles Benesch 0497 and the use of a thicker nib on the right, Benesch 0496. The artist treated the same subject in Benesch 0515 in a more delicate and possibly earlier manner.

Condition: Generally good, though with some spotting and stains, especially upper left edge; a later added strip below.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650?

COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.620; inv.1418).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.382; Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.353, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.514, repr. (c.1640-42; compares Benesch 0512-13); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620).

First posted 19 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0515

Subject: The Temptation of Christ (Matthew, IV, 1–11; Mark, I, 12–13; Luke, IV, 1–13)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (on the lower three sides unusual in being slightly within the edge of the sheet).

170 x 200.

COMMENTS: Belongs with the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500). The same subject was treated in Benesch 0514. Here the handling is more refined, using a thinner nib, and in this respect the drawing is closer to Benesch 0488, perhaps especially in the landscape to the right. For the figures, cf. also Benesch 0545. Benesch himself, though retaining the attribution to Rembrandt, rightly compared the landscape with Benesch 0498, in which the breadth of handling in the main tree is especially close.

Condition: Uncertain (not seen).

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50?

COLLECTION: D Dortmund, Private Collection? (formerly H. Becker).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.440, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.515, repr. (c.1640-42; compares the figures in Benesch 0514 and the landscape with Benesch 0498); Exh. Raleigh, 1959, no.80; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under nos 206x, 212x and 260x (Rembrandt; early 1640s); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Frits Lugt; W.R. Valentiner (his sale, Amsterdam, Mensing, 25 October, 1932, no.VI); his estate sale, London, Sotheby’s, 25 November, 1971, lot 13, H. Becker.

First posted 19 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0516

Subject: The Holy Family in the Carpenter's Workshop

Verso: Laid down on a card with gold edges, perhaps a remnant of a larger, eighteenth-century mat

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, touched with white; some grey may have been mixed with parts of the brown wash.

184 x 246. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: 23h.

COMMENTS: The drawing is unusual in depicting the Holy Family including Anna and another figure (St Elizabeth?) knocking at the window.[1] Rembrandt seems to have been concerned to represent the figures informally in a domestic setting so that the scene might almost pass as taken from everyday life, unconnected with biblical story. The box-like object hanging to the left of the window is probably a bird cage. Some of the same elements reappear in other works associated with Rembrandt's name, as for example in the paintings of the 'Holy Family' in the Rijksmuseum and the Louvre (Bredius 0568 and 0563 respectively, the latter Wetering 173),[2] as well as in Benesch 0620A. The sheet is also somewhat unusual among Rembrandt's biblical drawings for its pictorial completeness, which suggests that it was intended as an independent work in its own right.

The date of the drawing is difficult to establish. Stylistic comparisons with undisputed drawings by the artist include analogies with the Star of the Kings of c.1645-47 (Benesch 0736). Though lacking the hatching seen in that sheet, the present drawing nevertheless reveals clear similarities in the central group of figures, drawn boldly in pen lines that meander around the forms with few interruptions. The figure of Joseph, in a slightly more rectilinear style, resembles (though more distantly) the pen-and-ink sketch of Jan Six of c.1647 (Benesch 767). Yet the highly atmospheric handling of the light, dissipating subtly as it recedes from the window, with further pockets of illumination ricocheting around the room, seems also to conform with Rembrandt's style in the 1650s, as seen in the Painter's Studio with a Model of c.1655 in the Ashmolean Museum (see Figs a-b; Benesch 1161). Here, the treatment of details is also comparable, from the chairs and other furnishings on the right to the feet of Joseph’s table and those of the easel in the later drawing. There are few fixed points in establishing the chronology of Rembrandt's pen drawings in this period, and the date c.1647-52 – somewhat later than previous writers (including the present one) have proposed in the past (see Literature below), but it takes the comparison with Benesch 1161 into account. The St Petersburg painting of the Holy Family with Angels of 1645 (Bredius 570; Wetering 198), though different in format and iconography, also shows St Joseph at work in an interior but could have been made earlier. The composition of the slightly later painting of the 'Holy Family' in Kassel (Bredius 572; Wetering 209), which is dated 1646, also includes some comparable motifs to the present drawing. But here the artist has not only included St Elizabeth, but give a more specific action – a skilled one – to the carpenting Joseph as he handles a chisel to thin down the end of a wooden plank or pole.

A copy is in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass., which is cut on the right, includes minor differences and a pentimento near Joseph's right leg (Fig.c).[3] The above-mentioned version in the Courtauld Institute of Art, Benesch 0620A, is executed in a style analogous to the present sheet, especially in the broader pen-lines in the background. Another variant, in the Louvre (Benesch 0517),[4] appears less convincingly to be by Rembrandt, as does the drawing in the Fitzwilliam Museum (Benesch 0569) while that in Bayonne is likely by Rembrandt (Benesch 0567). (These last two drawings have been related to the St Petersburg painting.) It has also been pointed out that a pupil borrowed the figure of the Virgin in a sketch in Chicago of the Satyr and the Peasant (inv.1927.5192; Benesch A31; Sumowski 854x as Barent Fabritius).[5] Another pupil or follower, possibly Ferdinand Bol, drew a Holy Family in an Interior (now in Darmstadt) in a similar technique and style, perhaps at the same period.[6]

Condition: Good; perhaps a little trimmed.

Summary attribution:

Date: c.1650?

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1900,0824.144).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Kleinmann, IV, no.7; Exh. London, 1901, no.A115; Lippmann, IV, no.64; London, 1915, no.61 (c.1640-50; notes copy now in Fogg Art Museum [see Comments above]; compares “Adoration of Shepherds”, HdG 988, Valentiner 294, not in Benesch); Bredt, 1921/28, 2, repr. pp.13 and 15; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.325a, repr. (c.1640); Weisbach, 1926, p.161, repr. fig.30 (finished work in its own right; complete interiors rare in Rembrandt's oeuvre); Van Dyke, 1927, p. 119 (by van der Pluym); Benesch, 1935, p.33 (c.1642; compares etching 'St Jerome in a dark Chamber', 1642, Bartsch 105; NH 212); Exh. London, 1938, no.61; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.516, repr. fig.643/677 (c.1640-42; compares Louvre version, Benesch 0517 and Louvre painting of 1640, Bredius 563; Wetering 173, as well as the etching of St Jerome in a dark Chamber, as in 1935; notes other version, Benesch 0620A); Exh. London, 1956, p.22, no.3; Drost, 1957, p.174 (compares Elsheimer); Benesch, 1960, p.24 and no.40, repr. (compares 'Faust' and 'Virgin and Child with the Cat and Snake' etchings, Bartsch 270 and 63; NH 270 and 278); London, 1961, p.29, under no.193 (follows Benesch, noting also Louvre and Kassel paintings of Holy Family, Bredius 570 and 572; Wetering 173 and 209); Sumowski, 1961, p.10 (influenced the St Joseph in “Holy Family” painting by B. Fabritius [see Sumowski, 1983 below); Scheidig, 1962, p.49, no.68, repr. (compares Louvre version, Benesch 517); Benesch, 1964, pp.129-30, reprinted 1970, p.259 (dates Benesch 0620A later, to c.1648-9, anticipating etching of 1654, 'Virgin and Child with the Cat and Snake', Bartsch 63, NH 278); Slive, 2, 1965, no. 511, repr. (c.1640-43); Bonnier, 1970/69, repr. in colour, fig.24; Bernhard, 1976, 2, repr. p.290; Sumowski, 1, 1979, p.404, under no.190x (influence on Bol); Amsterdam, 1981, p.51, n.3 (Joseph often represented by Rembrandt specifically as a carpenter); Sumowski, 4, 1981, p.1858, under no.854xx (see n.5 below); Hoekstra, 3 (deel 1), 1983, p.68, repr. (includes Anna; figure looks through window as in etched 'Virgin and Child with the Cat and Snake', Bartsch 63; NH 278); Sumowski, Gemälde, 2, 1983, p.918, under no.561 (as in 1961); Corpus, 3, 1989, p.565 (by Rembrandt or his workshop); Exh. London, 1992, no.43, repr. (c.1647); Giltaij, 1995, p.100 (definitely not by Rembrandt; perhaps by Flinck, comparing Benesch 0518b); Exh. Bremen, 2000-2001, p.82, under no.36, repr. fig.a (compares motif of Van Hoogstraten drawing of same subject in Bremen, inv.1882, Sumowski 1189x); Dibbits, 2006, p.115, repr. fig.12 (Rembrandt interested in Holy Family themes; relates to “school of Rembrandt” painting in Rijksmuseum, inv.SK-A-4119; Bredius 568); Schwartz, 2006, p.316, fig.566; Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.22.1 (c.1645); London, 2010 (online), no.39, repr. (c.1647); Schatborn, 2019, pp.19 and 25, and no.81, repr. (c.1645; served as a model for Hoogstraten).

PROVENANCE: Possibly Greffier François Fagel; his sale, London, T. Philipe, 23 May, 1799, lot 363, £2-15-0; and possibly sale, T. Philipe, London, 24 April 1801, lot 31 (although either or both of these references may refer to the copy at the Fogg Art Museum, first recorded in the Lawrence collection); Samuel Woodburn; his sale, Christie's, 13 June, 1860, lot 1405 as “Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - The Holy Family in a room, Joseph working as a carpenter - Fine effect of chiaro-scuro”, bt Tiffin for £3-15-0); bequeathed to the present repository by Henry Vaughan, 1900.

[1] See Réau, 2, 1957, pp.149-50, who traces the origins of representations of the wider Holy Family, nowhere united in the Gospels, to the Meditations of the pseudo-Bonaventura, Ch.XII.

[2] The Amsterdam painting was rejected by Gerson (Bredius-Gerson, 1969, no.568). The Louvre's was tentatively assigned to Ferdinand Bol (Corpus, 3, 1989, no.C87) but has been restored to Rembrandt (Wetering 173). The Amsterdam painting could be by the same hand.

[3] Inv.1910.7 (see Cambridge, Mass., 1940, no.531); pen and brown ink with brown and blue wash, 198 x 229. Repr. Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.325b.

[4] The latter was not included, and therefore rejected, by Starcky in Exh. Paris, Louvre, 1988-9. Another version, in Rotterdam, accepted by Benesch (his no.620) was rightly rejected by J. Giltaij in Rotterdam, 1988, no.146, with the plausible suggestion that it could be by Willem Drost.

[5] By Sumowski, 1981, tentatively identifying the pupil as B. Fabritius (see Literature above.).

[6] Repr. Valentiner, 1, 1925, p.XII; Sumowski 195x.

First posted 20 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0517

Subject: Sketch of the Holy Family in an Interior

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash. Inscribed by Dezallier d'Argenville in pen and brown ink, lower centre: “Rembrant”. Verso inscribed by Saint-Morys: “Scène Familière / à la plume lavé / d'encre de la Chine”

156 x 215.

COMMENTS: Although related in subject to Benesch 0516 (qv), the spindly, timid pen-lines are uncharacteristic of Rembrandt’s initial lay-ins, such as Benesch 0482 verso, Benesch 0567 or even the fictive painting in Benesch A095 of 1644 (for which see under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab) and seem closer to Benesch 0489, here tentatively assigned to Ferdinand Bol. The standing woman on the right, her arms and torso drawn almost as if they were parts of a doll that were glued together is also problematic for an attribution to Rembrandt. The interaction between the women is also minimal, if compared with Benesch 0516. The wash, however, is more impressive in its capacity to conjure up the light filtering through the interior, reminding us not only of Rembrandt but also the high quality in this regard of certain drawings by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout.[1] The diagonal stroke from the top of the window seems especially effective. Yet the use of greyish as well as brown wash in uncharacteristic of both these artists, as is the sharp horizontal tide mark in the wash near the upper left, which reveals a very thinned or liquid application.

Overall, an attribution to Rembrandt seems highly problematic and one to Ferdinand Bol slightly less so: for the penwork, one might compare Benesch 0271, here tentatively ascribed to the latter, and for the wash the Saul and the Witch of Endor (Indianapolis, inv. 2002.164; repr. Exh. Amsterdam, 2017-18, fig.42) and the drawing of Minerva (Berlin, inv. KdZ 1102; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, no.166).[2] The composition is indebted to Benesch 0516 – including the detail of the kind of work St Joseph is undertaking – and the two drawings probably date from the same time, perhaps c.1650. But re-assigning the drawing to the Rembrandt school does not diminish the high quality and evocative capacities of this remarkable, if minor sketch.

Condition: Good; some dirt/discolouration at the edges.

Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Ferdinand Bol??).

Date: c. 1650?

COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv.22990; formerly NIII28427; MA12634; Inventaire du Musée Napoléon, Dessins. Vol.9, p.1698, no.12634; inventaire manuscrit vol. 9, p. 407).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Reiset MS, c.1850 (school of Rembrandt); Paris, 1933, no.1128 (Rembrandt; 1630-32); Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.517, repr. (c.1640-42; compares Benesch 0516; relates both to Louvre painting, inv.1742; Bredius 563; Wetering 173); [Not included in Exh. Paris, 1988-89, therefore rejected]; Exh. London, 1992, under no.43 (not included, therefore rejected, in Exh. Paris, 1988-89; not certainly by Rembrandt); London, 2010 (online), under no.39 (as Exh. London, 1992); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: A.J. Dezallier d'Argenville (with his number, “2090” and paraphe, L.2951 and inscription below, “Rembrandt”; his sale, Paris, 18-28 January, 1779, part of lot 287 (as Rembrandt) “...l'attelier de Saint Joseph, lavés de bistre”; Charles-Paul-Jean-Baptiste Bourgevin Vialart, Comte de Saint-Morys (with his inscription, verso); his collection seized by the French state in 1793 after the Revolution and transferred to the present repository in 1796-1797.

[1] Eg., the Study of a Youth in the Fondation Custodia (Lugt Collection), Paris (Paris, 2010, no.69, repr.) or the drawings attributed to him in the British Museum (inv. Oo,9.100; see London, 2010 [online], Van den Eeckhout, no.20, repr.).

[2] One might also compare the diagonal light in Bol’s drawing of the Annunciation, now in Oslo (inv. NG.K&H.B. 15591; Sumowski 180x; repr. Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.8.2). This combines brown and grey wash, as do several other drawings by or attributed to him, including his studies for the Amsterdam Town Hall in Munich and Vienna (Sumowski 110-111 and 115; Exh. Amsterdam, 2017-18, figs. 172-74 [Munich inv.1748-49 and Vienna inv.9554]).

First posted 23 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0518

Subject: The Raising of Lazarus (John, XI, 43-44)

Verso: A Woman, Three-Quarter Length

Medium: Pen (reed pen) and brown ink, corrected with white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink and graphite (most visible at top edge); verso: black chalk. Inscribed verso, in graphite, upper left: “59” and below: “298”

183 x 158. Watermark: none.

COMMENTS: For style, Benesch correctly compared a number of drawings made at least partly with the reed pen: Benesch 0487, 0500 and 0501-0508, Benesch 0510 and Benesch 0531-34. These sketches, all belonging to the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500) provide the cue also to assign Benesch 0518 to the same draughtsman. The left hand of Christ has already been compared with Isaac’s in Benesch 0508 (qv), while the figures generally resemble those in Benesch 0498 and 0531; the thick, reed-pen lines below come close to the lower parts of Benesch 0496 and (again) Benesch 0498, while the widely-spaced, diagonal hatching above is also encountered in Benesch 0534. In the present case, there appears to be a stylistic link with Rembrandt’s drawings of the later 1640s, such as the signed Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736).

Disappointingly, a comparison with the composition of Carel Fabritius’s early painting of the subject in Warsaw of c.1642 (see Fig.a) yields no sound basis for the attribution of this or the other drawings in the “Carel Fabritius” group. Only the figure immediately to the right of Christ is similar (though smaller in scale), and the highly agitated figures in the oil, most of them on the left rather than the right as in the drawing, are closer to Rembrandt’s painted, drawn and etched versions of the subject of the early 1630s (for which see under Benesch 0017 and 0083a). In the drawing, the mood is calmer and the composition simplified, more in line with Rembrandt’s work c.1650 than with his earliest versions, or even his 1642 etching, to which the drawing has been compared in the past (by Benesch, 1955 and White, 1969 - see Literature below). A closer precursor is Jan Lievens’ painting of the early 1630s, now in Brighton, a design propagated by his own etching as well as the reproductive engravings after the oil by Jacob Louijs; but they reverse the composition of the painting. But one, anonymous and undescribed print (in the style of Pieter Soutman, who published Louijs’ engraving), is in the same direction as the painting and may have been a spur to the present drawing (Fig.b), although the draughtsman may also have known the painting, which was probably in Rembrandt’s own collection (Fig.c).[1] Despite this dependence, the result is not a slavish imitation but rearranges the protagonists into fresh groupings, poses and interrelationships, perhaps not always successfully.

The verso, however, looks to be by Rembrandt and from the period of his own early painting of c.1630-32 (Bredius 543; Wetering 48) and his etching of c.1632 (Bartsch 73; NH 113). In style, with its zigzag hatching and the revolving lines that suggest the forearms, it seems inseparable from Benesch 0083a (qv), a drawing sketched by Rembrandt on a proof of the etching itself (see also Fig.d). It may even have arisen as a trial idea by Rembrandt, subsequently rejected, for one of the women in these early versions of the subject. We must assume, therefore, that while studying these earlier drawings in the period c.1645-50, many years after they were made, perhaps with Rembrandt in his studio, his pupil was permitted to sketch a version of the composition on the other side of the sheet. In it, he re-evoked the earlier compositions, all the while creating his own variation on them.

Condition: Somewhat tired and light-struck, with stains in the upper half of the sheet and minor losses at the edges and corners, especially along the top.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt (the verso); Carel Fabritius? (the recto)

Date: 1630-32 (the verso); 1645-50? (the recto).

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (L.1857; inv. MB 160).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Rotterdam, 1852, no.746; Vosmaer, 1868, p.507 (listed); Rotterdam, 1869, no.625; Vosmaer, 1877, p.496 (c.1630-32); Dutuit, 1885, p.93; Michel, 1893, p.592; Kleinmann, V, 63; Lippmann, 3, 78; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1352 (1630-34; relates to Rembrandt’s painting of the subject in Los Angeles, the associated early etching as well as Benesch 0017 [qv, with Benesch 0083a, for these items]); Valentiner, 1907, p.161; Rotterdam, 1916 & 1921, no.580; Saxl, 1923-24, pp.156-58, repr. (late 1650s); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.421, repr.; Kauffmann, 1926, p.158, n.2, and p.174, n.3; Rotterdam, 1925 and 1927, no.591; Van Dyke, 1927, p.106, repr.fig.111 (Lievens); Exh. London, 1929, no.573 (and Commemorative Catalogue, pp.196-97); Jaarsverslag Museum Boymans, 1929, p.16; Hell, 1930, p.111, n.1; Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.225; Jaarsverslag Museum Boymans, 1932, p.10; Paris, 1933, p.18, under no.1147; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Van der Eecken, 1937, p.22, repr.; Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.62, repr. pl.XLI; Amsterdam, 1942, under no.1; Benesch, 1947, no.120, repr.; Schuurman, 1947, p.24, repr. fig.26; Benesch, 3, 1955, no.518, repr.fig.644-45/681-82 (c.1641-42, recto and verso; compares Benesch 0531-34; also Rembrandt’s 1642 etching of the subject, Bartsch 72; NH 206; dates verso to same period, comparing Benesch 0663-66 and Benesch 0737; also other drawings with partial reed pen, Benesch 0487, 0500-508 and Benesch 0510); Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.60, repr. pl.4; Benesch, 1956, p.200; Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956.I, p.23, under no.11; Drost, 1957, p.184; Sumowski, 1958, p.197; Drost, 1960, p.149; Gantner, 1964, p.15, n.5; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.106 (c.1635-40; compares Benesch 0006; quotes Saxl, 1923-4); Slive, 1965, 2, no.413; Exh. Tokyo-Kyoto, 1968-69, no.101, repr.; Rotterdam, 1969,, p.25, repr. figs 26-27; White, 1969, p.50, repr. fig.50 (relates to Rembrandt’s 1642 etching, Bartsch 72; NH 206); Hollstein, 18, 1969, p.38, under no.B72 (as White, 1969); Rotterdam, 1969, p.25, repr. fig.26-27; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under no.218x; Benesch, 1970, pp.207-8; Stechow, 1973, p.11, n.6; Guratzsch, 1975, p.253, n.15; Guratzsch, 1980, 2, no.286, repr. fig.134; Rotterdam, 1988, no.155, repr. (anonymous Rembrandt school, c.1645-50; inspired by Rembrandt’s 1642 etching; verso does not resemble the previous analogies suggested with drawings of c.1640-42); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.135, verso repr. fig.74 (verso repr. as Rembrandt, comparing Benesch 0083). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: F.J.O. Boijmans, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1847.

[1] 1656 inventory of Rembrandt's possessions includes 'Een opweckinge Laseri van Jan Lievensz' (Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, p.353, no.42). The painting is repr. in Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, no.1193, and Exh. Washington-Milwaukee-Amsterdam, 2008-9, no.31.

First posted 26 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0518a

Subject: The Good Samaritan Arriving at the Inn (Luke, 5, 25-37)

Verso: See Inscriptions

Medium: Pen (probably reed pen) and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink on all but left side; freehand framing lines by the artist to left and below in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso, in graphite, right: “41” [in a circle]

184 x 287. Watermark: none; chain lines:

COMMENTS: The drawing should be studied in tandem with Benesch 0518b.

The traditional attribution to Rembrandt, were it tenable, would depend largely on the comparison with the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736), the only documentary composition drawing in a related style. The bolder draughtsmanship and stronger characterisations in the latter undermine the attribution to Rembrandt of the present sheet, not least because the relative uniformity of the penwork, especially in the figures, which speaks against his authorship. The doubts are reinforced by the relative absence the more curvilinear lines that are characteristic of him, and of parallel hatching that hugs the form of the figures, as seen in the Star of the Kings. The proximity of certain details, including the two figures seen from behind just to the left of centre, and the liquidity of the style in both, could be explained as a pupil's emulation of the master. On this assumption the drawing is here dated to about the same time as Benesch 0736. Other, undoubted works by Rembrandt in pen and ink of the 1640s, such as those related to the Hundred Guilder Print (Benesch 0183-85 and 0188), exhibit no nearer analogies; nor do such drawings of the 1640s as the Holy Family in the Carpenter's Workshop (Benesch 0516), which seems wholly different.

Doubts about the drawing's authenticity have been voiced before;[1] and, as has previously been pointed out (Exh. London, 1992), it is comparable to such sketches as the Adoration of the Shepherds in the Rijksmuseum (see Fig.a, top left) and Benesch 0512, both of which are now included in the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500).[2] The pen-work in the tree also resembles that in Benesch 0498 (see Fig.a, lower left) and another comparable drawing in the group, of Joseph Interpreting the Dreams of the Baker and Butler, is in the British Museum (inv.Oo,9.101; London, 2010 [online], listed for the first time as belonging to the group here, under Benesch 0500, n.1), in which the figures are particularly similar. Characteristic of these drawings is the somewhat unvaried pressure of the (usually uninterrupted) pen outlines, a feature that contrasts strongly with Rembrandt's own works, the use of considerable amounts of wash and also of the reed pen, which again seems to have been employed here.[3] Although more broadly drawn, Benesch 0518b (qv) appears to be another, perhaps later version of the same subject by the same artist and the discussion of these two drawings runs in tandem.

Apart from Rembrandt’s early painting and etching of the subject,[4] several other versions of the Good Samaritan Arriving at the Inn were made by Rembrandt's pupils, probably at about the same time. They include the painting in the Louvre - discussed further under Benesch 0519b (where reproduced, Fig.b) - in which the horses are especially similar, and the drawing related to it now in Chicago (see Benesch 0519b, Fig.c), both of the late 1640s or early 1650s.[5] The most comparable work to the present sheet is a more broadly executed drawing in Rotterdam (Benesch 518b), now generally given to Govert Flinck or another follower of Rembrandt, and here assigned to the “Carel Fabritius” group also.[6] Yet the greater discipline of the present sheet marks it out as either a more finished version, or, more probably, an earlier one. (The often noted relationship between these works and a print by Jan van de Velde's, which also shows the scene as occurring at night, is not an especially close one.)[7] Other drawn versions are in the Louvre (an old copy) and Weimar (Benesch 0615).[8]

Condition: Good; water stains along lower margin; perhaps slightly trimmed at left; slight scuff on lower border, right of centre.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1645-50.

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1860,0616.122).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Blanc, II, 1861, p.453 (the figure carrying the man better drawn than in the print, Bartsch 90, H.101); Vosmaer, 1877, p.545; Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.85; Exh. London, 1891, no.112; Exh. London, 1899, no.A76 (resembles Louvre painting of 1648, Bredius 581); Michel, 1893, p.581; Seidlitz, 1894, p.123 (doubtful as Rembrandt); Seidlitz, 1895/1922, p.80/140, under no.90 (not especially close to etching Bartsch 90, Hind 101; notes that Vosmaer saw origins of latter in the print by Jan van de Velde - see n.6 above); Lippmann, I, no.190; Bell, c.1905, p.15, repr. pl.XXIV; Bode and Valentiner, 1906, p.80, repr. (c.1648); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.885 (c.1648 for Louvre painting, Bredius 581); Wurzbach, 1910, p.147; Hind, 1912, I, p.54, repr. pl.XIII (dark, atmospheric use of wash); London, 1915, no.70, repr. pl.IX (follows Exh. London, 1899; notes drawings in Louvre [see n.7 below] and Rotterdam [Benesch 518b], both of which he doubts; quotes Seidlitz, 1894); Eisler, 1918, pp.88 and 106 (c.1648; with Rotterdam drawing, a study for Louvre painting); Neumann, 1918, pp.97 and 101-2, repr. fig.32 (relates in chronological order to Louvre painting, 1633 etching, Rotterdam drawing and Louvre school drawing); Neumann, 1918.I, no.65, repr. (relates with Rotterdam drawing to Louvre painting); Stockholm, 1920, p.13 (compares 'Scene in Temple' Interior, Stockholm, inv. no.1676/75); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.379 repr. (c.1648; compares Louvre painting); Kramar, 1926, p.39 (Rotterdam version doubtful; for Louvre painting); Weisbach, 1926, pp.380 and 387, repr. p.386, repr. fig.108 (1640s; remarks on differences to Louvre painting and notes Berlin sketch, Bode 329/de Groot 110, Berlin drawing HdG 63, not in Benesch , and Louvre school 'copy'); Fierens, 1929, no.36, repr.; Paris, 1933, pp.14-15 and p.50, under no.1268 (compares Louvre sheet, considered a copy, and Chicago drawing; source in Jan van de Velde); Benesch, 1935, pp.39 and 42 (c.1648, noting Louvre painting, Berlin sketch and Rotterdam drawing); Benesch, 1935.I, p.265 (c.1648); Bredius, 1937/35, p.25, under no.581 (relates to Louvre painting and drawing and to Rotterdam drawing); Exh. London, 1938, no.70 (c.1648); Popham, 1939, p.68; Schinnerer, 1944, no.68, repr. (c.1648; as Eisler, 1918); von Alten, 1947, no.47, repr.; Benesch, 1947, no.161, repr. (notes related works and Lugt's discovery of Chicago school drawing); Isarlo, 1947, front page; Brière-Misme, 1949, pp.125 and 127, repr. fig.4 (c.1644-50; compares Weimar and Rotterdam drawings; Chicago sheet is repr. fig.6 as inspired by British Museum and Rotterdam sheets); Benesch, III, 1955/73, no.518a, repr. fig.646/683 (c.1641-3; compares Rotterdam drawing and study in Courtauld Institute of 'Bodies of Saul and his Sons carried away by the Israelites', Benesch 0485a; relates to pupil's painting in the Louvre, noting the preparatory study in Chicago); Exh. London, 1956, p.21, no.3 (later than the 1633 etching, Bartsch 90, Hind 101); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.98, under no.111 (closest to Rotterdam sheet); Exh. Vienna, 1956, p.26 under no.61 (with Rotterdam study, suggests that Rembrandt may have been planning a painting); Drost, 1957, p.188 (influence of Elsheimer); Sumowski, 1958, repr. fig.39 (c.1646); Exh. Washington-New York, etc., 1958-59, under no.68 (quotes Benesch and describes Rotterdam version as 'less careless'); Bruyn, 1959, p.15, repr. fig.16 (c.1641-43; source in Jan van de Velde [see under Seidlitz, 1895]); Drost, 1960, p.149 (background based on Elsheimer's landscapes); Roger Marx, 1960, repr. p.262, fig.97d; Boeck, 1962, repr. fig.29; Scheidig, 1962, pp.48-49, no.71, repr. (compares Star of Kings, Benesch 0736); White, 1962, pl.3 (c.1642); Stech, 1963, pl.48; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, p.120, under no.101 (quotes Bruyn, 1959); Slive, 1965, I, no.206 (c.1641-3, as also Rotterdam version Benesch 518b); Stech, 1968 ed. of 1963, p.21 and pl.48 (c.1641-43); Haak, 1969/68, p.185, repr. fig.300 (c.1641-3); Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.66 (c.1641-3); White, 1969, I, p.45; Exh. Chicago, 1969, under no.146 (attribution questionable, as also of Rotterdam sheet; both the basis for Chicago pupil's drawing); Bonnier, 1970/69, repr. in colour, fig.23; Wegner, 1970, p.32 (agrees with doubts expressed in Exh. Chicago, 1969-70); Haak, 1976/74, no.40, repr. (c.1641-3); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.307; 'British Museum Guide', 1976, p.196, repr. fig.17; Sciolla, 1976, p.10 and pl.XXVII; Broos, 1977, p.110 (quotes Bruyn, 1959 and Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65); Clark, 1978, p.133 (relates with Rotterdam drawing to pupil's painting in Louvre); Sumowski, 3, 1980, under no.569x and IV, 1981, under no.955x (school; forthcoming no.2641 of his catalogue [presumably as anonymous]); Amsterdam, 1985, under nos.29 and 62 (1640s; notes contrast of pen lines and wash, and other drawings of this period containing figures seen from behind); Manuth, 1987, p.13 (early 1640s); Robinson, 1987, p.246, repr. fig.9 (c.1643); Rotterdam, 1988, under no.78 ('attrib. to' Rembrandt; compares to Rotterdam version which is given with reservations to Flinck); Schneider, 1990, p.179; Exh. London, 1992, no.91, repr. in colour (Rembrandt School, c.1645-47); White, 1992, p.268, repr. fig.39 (Rembrandt); Exh. Stockholm, 1992-3, p.287, repr. fig.104a (Rembrandt); Halewood, 1993, p.290, repr. fig.2 (Rembrandt; contrasts iconography with that of the etching, Bartsch 90, Hind 101; growth of the sublime in Rembrandt's art); Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (suggests Van den Eeckhout, on basis of broad wash and fine hatching); London, 2010 (online), no.103, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer (L.1530); his sale, Philipe, 6th day, 15 June, 1811, lot 660, as “Rembrandt van Rhyn - The Good Samaritan; the wounded man brought to the hotel; a night scene - pen and bistre, broad wash - the effect is admirable and piquant, and the design one of the MOST CAPITAL of the master”, bt ‘P’ [?] (perhaps an abbreviation for the buyer of the previous lot, Alexander, or for the auctioneer, Philipe) £44-2-0; G. Hohn?;[9] S. Woodburn, sale, Christie’s, 9th day, 13 June, 1860, lot 1426.

[1] See Literature: Exh. Chicago, 1969-70, Wegner 1970, Sumowski, 1980 and 1981, Rotterdam, 1988, Exh. London, 1992 and Schatborn, 1994, who advances the name of Van den Eeckhout, but the compiler has always claimed that it is likely to be by a pupil of a later generation. Doubts were first raised by Seidlitz, 1894.

[2] The Rijksmuseum's drawing was tentatively ascribed to Carel Fabritius by Peter Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985, no.62, and more definitely to him in Schatborn, 2006.I, pp.130-34, repr. fig.2. See under Benesch 0500, n.1.

[3] There are few signs of the tapering at the end of the lines that is characteristic of the quill pen; the thickest lines, for example in the horses at the lower right and the figures at trhe extreme left, seem rather clearly to have been made with the reed pen.

[4] Bredius 545; Wetering 42 (the painting, the attribution of which remains disputed) and Bartsch 90; NH 116 (the etching of 1633).

[5] For the painting, Bredius 581, currently attributed to Van Renesse and formerly thought to be dated 1648, see Exh. Paris, Louvre, Département des peintures, 1988-9, pp.108-13, and (for an attribution to Willem Drost) Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.132. The drawing, not in Benesch though mentioned by him in the context of the present drawing, was in Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969, no.146, repr. p.235.

[6] See Rotterdam, 1988, no.78, where tentatively ascribed to G. Flinck.

[7] See Literature (Seidlitz, 1895; Paris, 1933; Bruyn, 1959). The print is repr. Hollstein, XXXIII-XXXIV, 1989, no.12.

[8] For the Louvre drawing, see Paris, 1933, no.1268 and Valentiner 380; the Weimar sheet was dated by Benesch to c.1648-49; Münz, 1937, p.108, repr. fig.15, attributed it to Flinck. Its subject has been identified as the 'Levite fastening the dead Concubine to an Ass' by Manuth, 1987, pp.12-13.

[9] Hohn is first mentioned by Hind in London, 1915, perhaps in error. The earlier British Museum exhibition catalogues do not mention this collection.

First posted 29 October 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0518b

Subject: The Good Samaritan Arriving at the Inn (Luke, 5, 25-37)

Verso: Laid down

Medium: Pen (mostly reed pen) and brown ink with brown wash, with some white bodycolour.

214 x 314mm. Watermark: flail within a chaplet (cf. Churchill 544 [1640] and Voorn 26 [1641]).

COMMENTS: The drawing should be studied in tandem with Benesch 0518a.

The authorship of the drawing cannot be in doubt: a comparison with Benesch 0502 – clearly bey the same hand – is sufficient to confirm an attribution to the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see Benesch 0500), and similarly heavy and broad reed-pen lines are encountered again, for example, in Benesch 0506 and to the right of Benesch 0504.[1]

Some details are not clear and the use of the sheet was changed: the thin lines underlying the horse, the central figures and those at the window at the upper right, for example, also describe a tall, standing man (perhaps with his arms folded) seen in profil perdu at the extreme left of the sheet; his larger scale suggests that he belonged to an earlier and different compositional idea. Another possible head, by the left rump of the horse, could also belong to the same early stage of work. At the window there are three or four figures, the topmost being the most sketchily delineated (though the pentimenti make a precise count of the figures difficult) and on the extreme right we see the innkeeper at a half-door, his head sketched in perhaps as an afterthought, close to the isolated Samaritan himself. Possibly the Samaritan was originally conceived as the innkeeper, with the former described near the head of the wounded man, pointing up towards the door. The lines at the lower right probably describe a dog.[2]

Although related in composition to Benesch 0518a (qv), which appears to be by the same hand, the handling here is in general vastly broader: apart from the thin lines mentioned above, which in places are delicate (as in the horse), the drawing resembles a battle on the page, with some campaigns conducted with an expressive, wilful freedom that is rarely paralleled in seventeenth-century art. Bold strokes define, revise and confirm the placement of the figures and the disposition of the architecture. The drama of the Caravaggesque light may have taken its cue from Rembrandt’s 1638 painting of the subject, now in Krakow,[3] but is here adapted to create a nocturne on a seemingly inhospitable night. Benesch 0487 and Benesch 0502 come close in their handling, and like the lower right of Benesch 0497A, the scrolling outlines of the foliage at the left have links with the underpainting of Fabritius’s painting of Hagar and the Angel, now in the Leiden Collection (see Fig.a). Like Benesch 0518a, there is a clear link with the Rembrandt school painting of the subject in the Louvre (Fig.b),[4] once thought not only to be by Rembrandt but also to be dated 1648 – neither supposition is currently supported – but possibly made a few years later. A sketch of the composition of the painting now in Chicago (Fig.c), which resembles drawings attributed to Willem Drost, has sufficient differences of detail (especially in the architecture) to suggest that it is not a copy of the painting, which in 1990 led the compiler to suggest that the painting could also be the work of Drost (an idea that has not gained traction).[5] Of course, many of the problems concerning the chronology of the drawings would fall into place if the painting were attributed to Carel Fabritius, but this proposition seems less probable.

For the present it can only be said that Benesch 0518a and 0518b, despite a divergence in style, both appear to belong to the “Carel Fabritius” group and that both relate in different ways to the Louvre painting and the Chicago drawing. As all were made in Rembrandt’s orbit, it is tempting to suppose that they may all be derived from a lost prototype by Rembrandt himself, whether a drawing or a painting; but such a supposition floats only on the treacherous waters of speculation.

The watermark is worthy of comment: it appears on a number of drawings by Rembrandt of c.1638-39, mostly in iron-gall ink: Benesch 0226; Benesch 0246 and Benesch 0393, as well as the Youth Walking with a Pole, now in the Rijksmuseum (Not in Benesch; inv. RP-T-1984-119). Benesch 0135, in red chalk, thought to date from a few years earlier, also has the mark, which is described by Churchill (no.544) and Voorn (no.26) respectively as dating from 1640 or 1641. A date in the early 1640s has been proposed by a number of earlier commentators for Benesxch 0518a-b,and the watermark does seem anomalous in a drawing that we prefer to date c.1650, for the reasons stated above. In support of the later date, one might also point to a certain congruity of style with drawings now given to Constantijn van Renesse, such as Benesch 1367.[6] Either the drawing’s date is here misjudged, or a sheet of this paper was used – or re-used – some years later; or else paper bearing the same watermark was also manufactured in or around 1650.

Condition: Worn at the edges; possibly suffered from some water damage (eg., at the centre and upper left segments of the sheet), though this may have occurred at the time of the application of the wash.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date: c.1650?

COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. MB 161 [PK]).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Rotterdam, 1852, no.738; Vosmaer, 1868, p.216, n.1 (relates horse to Concord of State [see Comments above]); Rotterdam, 1869, no.620; Vosmaer, 1877, p.544; Dutuit, 1885, p.93; Michel, 1893, p.330, repr. p.592; Kleinmann, 6, no.5; Lippmann, 3, no.50; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1350 (c.1648; study for Louvre painting [for which see Comments above]); Michel, 1906, repr. opp. p.58; Rembrandt Bijbel, 1906, p.63, N.t.d. 15; Saxl, 1908, p.346; Schmidt-Degener, 1912, p.16, repr. p.17; London, 1915, under no.70 (doubtful); Rotterdam, 1916, n.583; Eisler, 1918, p.106, repr. fig.60; Neumann, 1918, pp.97 and 101-2, repr. fig.33; Rotterdam, 1921, no.583; Neumann, 1923, no.66, repr.; Rotterdam, 1925, no.594; Hooykaas, 1925, p.24, repr. fig.9; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.378, repr. (c.1648; relates to Louvre painting [for which see Comments above]); Kramar, 1926, p.158, n.2; Rotterdam, 1927 and 1928, no.594; Exh. London, 1929, no.618 (and Supplement, p.209); Jaarverslag Museum Boijmans, 1929, p.16; Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.259 (c.1641-43); Jaarverslag Museum Boijmans, 1932, p.10; Benesch, 1935, p.39; Bredius, 1935, under no.581 (1648; as Vosmaer, 1968 and also relates to Louvre painting [on which see Comments above]); Poortenaar, 1943, p.37, no.29, repr.; Schinnerer, 1944, p.32, no.67, repr.; Benesch, 1947, p.35, under no.161; Brière-Misme, 1949, pp.125 and 127, repr. fig.3; Benesch, 3, 1955, no.518b, repr. fig.647/684 (c.1641-43; later than Benesch 0518a; Louvre painting took over various motifs; relates background to Benesch 1018; broad lines compared with Benesch 0502-4, Benesch 0523 and Benesch 0552); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.111; Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.121; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.61; Drost, 1957, p.188; Exh. Munich, 1956, no.16, repr. fig.15; Trautscholdt, 1957, p.161; Hanfstaengel, 1958, p.74, repr. p.68; Exh. Washington-New York-Minneapolis-Boston-Cleveland-Chicago, 1958–59, no.68; Roger-Marx, 1960, p.24, no.39, repr.; Sumowski, 1961, pp.9-10, under no.502 (probably Flinck; relates to Louvre painting and compares Benesch 0502); Rotermund, 1963, p.184, no.191, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.101; Von Moltke, 1965, p.261, under no.172 (not Flinck, [pace Sumowski, 1961]); Slive, 1965, 2, no.383, repr.; Exh. Prague, 1966, no.90; Wegner, 1966, p.104; Trautscholdt, 1967, p.127; Haak, 1968, p.185, repr. fig.299; Gerson, 1968, p.476, repr. fig.b (“attributed to” Rembrandt); Muller, 1968, p.33; Bonnier, 1969, p.42, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.67, repr. (as Vosmaer, 1868); Rotterdam, 1969, p.26, repr. pl.30 (perhaps wrongly attributed to Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1969, p.469; White, 1969.I, p.435 (uncertain attribution); Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.46; Wegner, 1970, p.32; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1971.I, p.88 (probably not Rembrandt); Broos, 1977, p.110; Rotenberg, 1978, repr. fig.146; Clark, 1978, pp.133-34, repr. fig.149; Rotterdam, 1988, no.78, repr. (Flinck; close to Benesch 0518a; compares print of the same subject by Jan van de Velde [Hollstein 12; in fact closer to Rembrandt’s 1633 etching and possibly made later]; following Benesch, compares central group to Benesch 0485a; otherwise as Sumowski, 1961); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: F.J.O. Boijmans, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1847.

[1] The many drawings compared by Benesch, 1955 (see Literature) also seem to belong to the group.

[2] Many of these details were first fully described by Giltaij in Rotterdam, 1988, no.78.

[3] Bredius 442; Wetering 159, who speaks of its “dramatic lighting” (p.561).

[4] The Louvre painting is inv.1737; see Sumowski, Gemälde, 4, 1989, no.1658a, repr.. It currently carries an attribution to Constantijn van Renesse.

[5] See Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.132.

[6] Ibid., 2000, p.162, repr. fig.40; Berlin, 2018, no.100.

First posted 1 November 2020.

 

 

 

Benesch 0519

Subject:  The Return of the Prodigal Son (Luke, 15, 11-32)

Verso: See Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and white bodycolour; traces of ruled framing lines at top and below. Inscribed verso, in graphite, upper right: “28-f – 1 st” [price: 28 guilders and 1 stuiver] and centre left: “108”

191 x 227. Watermark: Basilisk (cf. Churchill 286 and 575, and Heawood 845); chain lines: 23-24h.

COMMENTS: This astounding drawing subtly conveys all the emotion of the scene: the forgiving father, “filled with compassion”, welcoming back his son, gently laying his hand on the prodigal’s head; the profound regret suggested by the kneeling, contrite son, who hardly dares to raise his head – and the deep jealousy in the glance of the brother on the left: “he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’”[1]

The head of the prodigal was initially delineated in considerable detail, using a fine nib, the approach reminiscent of such heads as Benesch 0331 and Benesch 0332. (The latter is similarly posed, as is also the head of St John in Benesch 0477). Elsewhere, the artist mainly employed a medium-width nib, both in the figures and the background, before completing the drawing in two further stages: in a much broader nib, adding emphasis, alterations and elaborations (as in the cloak, lower right) to the main figures – the effectiveness of these simplified outlines, not least in the figure of the Prodigal Son, is startling, even if on occasion they lack Rembrandt’s customary exactness, as in the same figure’s ankles – and finally adding the tone in brown wash, with some corrections in white to the father’s right leg (with a further trace of it in a diagonal sweep in the right background).

Several characteristics of the drawing may be described as atypical of Rembrandt: the penwork in the top left background, though spirited and deft, is unusually slack, and in a manner is not easily paralleled in Rembrandt’s other sketches; and the diagonal shading behind and between the figures may only be compared with Benesch 0482 recto, a comparison that is not overly persuasive. The vividly characterised face of brother to the left, though extraordinarily effective, also stands stylistically apart among Rembrandt’s figure-drawings and the description of his hands also seems unusual (compare the right hand of the woman holding the child in Benesch 0411? Or those in the Berlin Self-Portrait, Benesch 0432?). To place the drawing together with, for example, the refined delicacy of Benesch 0500a or Benesch 0606 seems to enter another stylistic moment (Fig.a): the shading on the lower step of the former is almost the only clear congruence between them.

To alleviate these discrepancies, the drawing is here dated a few years later than usual, to the mid-1640s. The documentary drawings reveal that Rembrandt’s style then increased in breadth and liquidity, for example in the Satire on Art Criticism of 1644 (Benesch A035A – see the Not in Benesch tab [this is not a documentary drawing]; the crouching figure is perhaps the closest moment), the drawing of Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius and the Star of the Kings in the British Museum (Benesch 0663 and Benesch 0736), the pen study for the etched Portrait of Jan Six (Benesch 0767), the heavier touches in the Berlin sketch for the Hundred Guilder Print (Benesch 0188) or even the Louvre study for the old man and woman in the same composition (Benesch 0185). While not as strongly connected in style as might be expected, the present drawing tends towards the same stylistic world.

As noted in the introduction to this catalogue – and many times elsewhere – it cannot be assumed that Rembrandt always conformed to his own stylistic norms. But there can be little doubt that the drawing is by him, despite its non-conformity and the difficulty it presents in assigning it a date.[2] His etching of the subject of 1636 (Bartsch 91; NH 159), although it already shows the Prodigal Son kneeling before his father in a comparable situation, does not otherwise function as a useful comparison; and his later drawing of the Prodigal Son Among the Swine (Benesch 0601) also belongs to another, in this case later, period, c.1650.

Benesch’s suggestion that the background architecture and the washes are later additions has not found followers.[3] The drawing was etched by both Bartsch (in 1795)[4] and De Claussin,[5] both of whom added landscape backgrounds and worked up the details.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date:  1644-45?

COLLECTION: NL Haarlem, Teyler Museum (inv. O* 48; formerly 1864:O*76 i).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Vosmaer, 1868, p.507; Vosmaer, 1877, p.590; Michel, 1893, p.244, repr. p.592; Von Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 (not by Rembrandt); Haarlem, 1904, p.106; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1318 (c.1635); Saxl, 1908, p.238 (c.1635); Lippmann, 4, 167; Kleinmann, I, 2; Hind, 1923, I, under no.147; Buisman, 1924, repr. pl.12; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.288, repr. (c.1636); Kauffmann, 1926, p.175, n.3 (1635-36); Van Dyke, 1927, p.50 (Bol); Exh. London, 1929, no.616 and 1930, p.208); Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.240 (c.1636); Benesch, 1935, p.35 (c.1640-41); Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.63, repr.; Van Gelder, 1946, pp.24-25, repr. (c.1636); Exh. Amsterdam 1951, no.15 (c.1636); Exh. Haarlem, 1951, no.153; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.519, repr. fig.641/685 (c.1642; washes and architecture by another hand; compares “vigorous modelling of the figures and tight layers of hatching with Benesch 0656, and with Benesch 0510”); Baard, 1956, no.47; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.108, repr. (c.1642); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.519, repr. (c.1642; washes and architecture by a later hand; compares Benesch 0510 and Benesch 0656); Van Gelder, 1957, pp.31 and 95, no.64, repr. (before 1642); Rosenberg, 1959, p.112; Roger-Marx, 1960, p.335, under no.154 (c.1642); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51 (background not later, pace Benesch); Moskowitz, 1962, no.584, repr. (c.1642); Scheidig, 1962, p.51, no.76, repr. (c.1645); Rotermund, 1963, pp.185 and 314, no.202, repr. (c.1636); Eisler, 1964, p.97, repr. pl.66; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.102; Slive, 1965, I, no.177, repr. (c.1642); Gerson, 1968, pp.464-65, repr. fig.c; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.65, repr.; White, 1969, p.41; Gaglio, 1970, p.45, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1972, no.71, repr. (1642); Linnik, 1973, p.225; Broos, 1977, p.110; Clark, 1978, pp.135-36, repr. fig.154 (c.1636); Exh. Haarlem, 1978, no.69, repr. fig.36; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.212x; Schatborn, 1981, p.1, repr. figs 9-10 (as Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961); Sumowski, Drawings, 4, under no.1945x; Amsterdam, 1985, p.66, under no.29 (1640-45); Exh. Paris, 1986, p.109, under no.54, repr. fig.78; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.27; Exh. London, 1992, under nos 41 and 52, n.3; Exh. New York-Chicago, 1989, no.69, repr. (c.1642); Haarlem, 1997, no.326, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, pp.19 (served as inspiration for C. Fabritius), 25, 26 (captures boy's unusual yet convincing facial expression) and no.76, repr. (c.1641).

PROVENANCE: A. Simon; his sale, Paris, 10 March, 1862, lot 51, bt Lamme, fr.390; Jacob de Vos, Jbz. (L.1450); his sale, Amsterdam, Roos, Frederick Muller & Co., 22 May, 1883, lot 379, by Schöffer, Hfl.380, for the present repository.

[1] For some reason this figure has not previously been interpreted as the brother.

[2] The drawing has only been doubted by Seidlitz, 1894, and Van Dyke, 1927 (see Literature).

[3] It was specifically rejected by Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, and some later writers.

[4] Impressions are in the British Museum in two states (inv. D,7.12 and 13).

[5] According to Benesch, De Claussin added the date “1642”, the authority for which is unknown, even if it remains plausible (but see the arguments above); however, the impression in the British Museum (in the album, inv. 1847,1009.141.1-50) is not dated.

 

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0520

Subject:  A Group of Mourning Figures, Standing

Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (trimmed away except on the left). Inscribed verso, upper left, in blue crayon: “S832” and lower left in graphite: “verso 1650 Rembrandt”; in the centre: “Vme 5 VS” and lower right: “C995” and “3”  

123 x 166.

COMMENTS: Apart from its inclusion in Benesch’s 1955/73 catalogue – and its exclusion from Schatborn, 2019 – the drawing has been roundly ignored. The former related the sketch to the mourning figures by the cross in Rembrandt’s 1642 etching of the Descent from the Cross: a Sketch (see the detail, Fig.a), but the connection is too loose to speak of a convincing link. Only the central, bearded figure with his arm raised finds a tangible echo. Yet many of the drawings Benesch compared are generally accepted, including Benesch 0538, Benesch 0541, Benesch 0677-79, Benesch 0682 and Benesch 0739-40.

Two aspects of the style attract particular attention: the contrast between the delicately applied, fine initial lines, clearest in the full-length woman on the left but found also in many other areas, especially in the centre and on the right, but also in the bust of the briefly-indicated mourner on the extreme left; and the boldest lines, obvious in all the figures apart from the two at the sides. Because many of these bolder lines appear to be in a paler, warmer ink, the thought occurs that perhaps the drawing was retouched at some later stage: but as the same colour of ink is also found in some of the initial, more tentative lines, and also because all the work generally seems fully integrated, this thought falls aside, and the variation must have resulted either from a chemical change or from some other, less fathomable cause (inconsistencies in the ink, perhaps).

At first glance, there are analogies with the progress from a tentative to a bold approach in many of the figures in drawings of the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500). One might point to the tentative beginnings of certain characters in Benesch 0487 (in the centre and towards the right, in Haman and Mordechai) or Benesch 0504. In the latter we also encounter “parallel curves” of hatching, found again in such drawings as Benesch 0515 and in the coach in Benesch 0488, that have counterparts here in the full-length women second from the left and on the extreme right. But overall, the effect is not the same and very much closer to Rembrandt’s own drawings of the 1640s, such as two of the documentary studies for the Hundred Guilder Print, Benesch 0185 (see Fig.b, left) and Benesch 0188. The character of the underdrawing in the old man in the former and the sick woman on the right of the latter seem close, while the broader handling resembles parts of Benesch 0190 (see Fig.b, right). In addition, the documentary sketch of Christ Carried to the Tomb in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 0482 recto) includes a mourning figure on the left that could form a pair with that on the left of our drawing (see Fig.c).

While some, prompted by the looseness of handling, might prefer an attribution to Ferdinand Bol or another of Rembrandt’s pupils, the analogies enumerated here appear more than sufficient to retain the drawing, rather, under Rembrandt’s own name. The stye fits well enough to place it in the mid-1640s, although the loose connection with the 1642 etching (see Fig.a) means that it could be slightly earlier. For the benefit of those who wish to retain their doubts, a further comparison between three details and parts of the now universally-accepted 1644 Satire on Art Criticism (Benesch A035a, mon which see under the Not in Benesch tab) is illustrated here (Fig.d) which, despite the latter’s more specific description of the figures, again appear to point in the direction of Rembrandt.

Finally, the expression of the woman in profile towards the right is worthy of remark and reminiscent of quattrocento masters such as Andrea Mantegna in its intensity: indeed a direct comparison may be made with the St John in Mantegna’s engraved Entombment (Fig.e, showing Mantegna’s original with a detail from the more common copy in reverse, sometimes attributed to Zoan Andrea or to Giovanni Antonio da Brescia). This interest seems more characteristic of Rembrandt, who owned an album of Mantegna’s work, than of any of his followers.[1] The motif of a figure burying their face in a kerchief, both here and in Benesch 482 recto, may have been inspired by the background figure near the entrance to the tomb in this composition. A version of the figure of course appears in Benesch A105a, a variant copy after Mantegna’s composition.

Condition: Good.

Summary attribution: Rembrandt.

Date: c.1645.

COLLECTION: USA, Private Collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.520, repr. fig.648/686 (c.1642 and the basis for dating many other drawings to this period [some mentioned in Comments above]; close to Benesch 0686; made in connection with the 1642 etching, The Descent from the Cross, Bartsch 82; NH 204); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Maurice Marignane; J.R. Reid; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 15 July, 1931, lot 52, repr.; Dr N. Beets; Mrs Jacob Kaplan, New York; Mrs Hans Schaeffer, New York (via Schaeffer Galleries?); with Rafael Valls, London (dealer; his 1975 catalogue, no.47, repr.); sale, Amsterdam, Christie’s, 26 November, 1984, lot 25, repr. pl.8 and on the cover; private collection, New York.

1. In the 1656 inventory features “'t Kostelijcke boeck van Andre de Mantaingie” (the precious book of Andrea Mantegna). See Strauss and Van der Meulen, 1979, no.1656/12 and Royalton-Kisch and Ekserdjian, 2000.

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0521

Subject:  Diana and Callisto (Metamorphoses, 2, 409-507)

Verso: See Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, with a touch of white near Callisto’s left shoulder; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (though apparently trimmed away completely on the left). Inscribed verso below (upside-down) in graphite: "630/1566" [the dividing line is horizontal) and [right way up] "1240" [crossed out]; and in pen and brown ink: "Tra" [or "Fra"] (also crossed out)

204 x 295. Watermark: Post horn in crowned shield, 4 and 'HP' or 'PP' below; chain lines: 22h.

COMMENTS: The compositional formula for representing this common subject from Ovid was famously set by Titian, but the present composition may owe slightly more to a design by Hendrick Goltzius recorded in an engraving by Jan Saenredam of 1599 (Fig.a Bartsch 52; NH 594). Characteristically for Rembrandt and his followers, the subject is imbued with greater realism, but the origins, especially of the figure of Callisto and the standing figures immediately either side of her, seem to derive from the engraving.

The drawing has not always been accepted (see Literature below). The closest stylistic comparisons among Rembrandt’s own drawings are the Mars and Venus Caught in Vulcan’s Net (see Fig.b; Benesch 0540) and the signed and thus documentary drawing of the Star of the Kings (see Fig.c; Benesch 0736). The connection with the former seems unassailable (see Fig,b), even if the handling of the pen is here broader and therefore less precise. But a number of figures in the central area of both drawings, as shown in the details within Fig.b, appear to be by the same hand, the main connection being (in Benesch 0521) with the figures of Diana and the servant standing by her. These also link in style with the Satire on Art Criticism of 1644, particularly in the crouching man there (see Fig.d). But the broader pen-lines in the figures, at least, are comparable to Benesch 0736 (Fig.c) and to parts of the Prodigal Son, Benesch 0519. The latter also has a comparable passage of foliage at the top left and of cross-hatching behind the main protagonists (see Fig.e), a type of shading also found in the documentary pen-and-ink sketch of Jan Six (Benesch 0767 – see Fig.f). Benesch 0520 is also close in style, while the thickest, almost painterly lines in the dog and elsewhere in the foreground, and the most abbreviated bathers at the extreme left and right, seem to anticipate Rembrandt’s style of the 1650s or even 1660s, such as the sketch of the related subject of Diana and Actaeon, Benesch 1210.

It has to be admitted that some aspects of the drawing seem slightly alien to Rembrandt, as is often the case with works in his broadest style. There is a degree of imbalance and, beneath the Diana, a moment of near-incoherence. Here, and also in the strongest lines at the lower left and in the dog in the lower centre, there are analogies in the loose handling with details in the work of such pupils as Ferdinand Bol, whose drawings, however, lack the powerful bite of Rembrandt, and – perhaps especially in the dog – in studies belonging to the “Carel Fabritius” group (on which see under Benesch 0500). But when placed side-by-side (as in Fig.g), the far richer analogies with Rembrandt’s own drawings (as in Figs.b-e) become only more apparent. Another anomalous moment in the drawing are the fine pen-lines – much finer than almost anywhere else in the drawing apart from the cross-hatching mentioned above – delineating a branch of foliage at the upper right (visible in Fig.f, right), which are peculiarly crude. But such an unusual or unsatisfactory moment is surely to be expected on occasion in such a rapidly sketched work by any artist as prone as Rembrandt was to experimentation (a topic discussed elsewhere in the catalogue and in the Introduction). Overall, the compiler finds that the most convincing comparisons are in the work of Rembrandt rather than any of his pupils or followers.

The idea that Benesch 0521 may have been made as part of a series of drawings, along with Benesch 0540, is possible,[1] though undermined by the fact that the latter is slightly narrower, even though the present sheet has been trimmed on the left, where the framing line is entirely missing.

Condition: Good; the paper very slightly yellowed; ink penetrates to the verso; perhaps slightly trimmed (see the end of the Comments section above).

Summary attribution: Rembrandt (Provisional – the compiler still has some checks to do which Covid-related closures and his reluctance to travel have hitherto prevented.)

Date:  c.1648?

COLLECTION: D Private Collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, 1913 (1914 ed.), p.136; Valentiner, II, 1934,, no.596, repr. (comparing two paintings of 1630s, one the same subject, of 1634 [Bredius 472; Wetering 130] and also the Wedding of Samson, of 1638 [Bredius 507; Wetering 160]); Benesch, 1935, p.36;  Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.521, repr. (c.1642-53; compares Benesch 0502 and Benesch 0540); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51 (same date as Benesch 0540 and perhaps part of a series); Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under nos.93 and 263x; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Herman de Kat; R. Ederheimer (dealer), New York (their catalogue, 1913-14), no.36; W.R. Valentiner, by whom sold to private collection, Basel; the latter’s sale, Zurich, Koller, 8-10 September, 1993, lot 16, repr..

[1] As suggested by Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51.

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0522

Subject:  The Adoration of the Magi (Matthew, 2, 1-12)

Verso: Blank, see Inscriptions

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some later pen and grey ink and grey wash. Inscribed in graphite, lower right: “72” and verso (by Röver) in pen and dark brown ink: “9/9” and in reds (by Goll van Franckenstein): “N2905”; in pen and brown ink, lower right: “Rembrandt”

178 x 203. Watermark: not legible; chain lines: 24v. (very fine laid lines).

COMMENTS: Despite its long and distinguished provenance, including its appearance as by Rembrandt in the inventory of Valerius Röver (1686-1739), the drawing has generally either been ignored or rejected.

Apart from the fact that the drawing has been extensively retouched, which renders the initial impression uncharacteristically busy with hatching, the style here is problematic for Rembrandt, being reminiscent of Ferdinand Bol and, in places, also of Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. But above all, the similarities with the drawing at Chatsworth of David's Charge to Solomon (Fig.a; Benesch A81; Chatsworth, 2002, no.1466) appear pertinent, a drawing that has not found favour in recent decades, despite its also having an unimpeachable, though different, provenance from the collection of Nicolaes Anthonie Flinck, the son of Rembrandt’s pupil, Govert Flinck. While the kneeling figures are the most obviously similar, the overall style is closely related, from the darting and dancing outlines and the frequently interrupted pen strokes, to the fine passages of hatching, the delicate initial strokes and even such details as the facial features and hands.

Ferdinand Bol’s touch is close, for example, in the standing spectators towards the left, who resemble those in Benesch 0480 (see Fig.b); but one might counter that they are almost equally comparable to the background executioner on the left of Benesch 0479 (Fig.c). The dancing outlines in the clothes of the tallest, and also the kneeling Magus are comparable to the figure of Hagar in Bol’s drawing of Hagar and the Angel at the Well on the Way to Shur in the Rijksmuseum (Fig.d), although on the whole Benesch 0522 exhibits more variety in the touch, from tentative initial strokes through to the firmly emphasised – and somewhat decoratively calligraphic — lower edges of the cloaks.

The comparison with Van den Eeckhout is more germane to some of the heads in the foreground figure group, including the two soldiers holding the spear and parasol, whose faces are drawn with a simplified, almost geometrical approach to anatomy and expression such as we encounter, for example, in Van den Eeckhout’s version of the same subject, Benesch 0160 (see Fig.e). But again, the drawing attributed to Van den Eeckhout lacks the varied handling of Benesch 0522, and there are passages which appear closer to Rembrandt himself: in the tallest of the Magi, wearing a Phrygian cap, who is supremely well characterised; and the figure holding the parasol and those closest to him, which also resemble Benesch A20, which is accepted by Schatborn (2019, no.28), although only with considerable hesitation in the present catalogue (see under the Not in Benesch tab). The parasol itself is rendered in perspective with swift and impressive dexterity.

Overall, the analogies with Ferdinand Bol are closer than with Van den Eeckhout and suggest that Benesch 0522 is marginally more likely to be his work. Compare also Benesch 0527 and especially Benesch 0586A, which although never reaching the degree of detail or the commanding quality of the tallest Magus here, is in other respects extremely close in the abbreviations in the outlines and in details such as hands. The drawing is therefore assigned, tentatively, to Bol here, although remaining within the ‘conceivably by Rembrandt’ category (with two question marks). Analogies between the drapery outlines and the figure of Peter in Benesch 0949, as also between the parasol here and that in Benesch 0952, suggest that the Adoration of the Magi could be later than has been generally supposed, perhaps even of the early 1650s, with the pupil referring to the works by their teacher at this later date. (In Bol’s case, it would be long after his apprenticeship had been concluded in c.1640-41.)

The later additions, mostly shading in the lower right section of the sheet, are unusually lively in quality and perhaps early.

Condition: Generally good, though retouched and possibly trimmed on the right.

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? Rembrandt??

Date: 1645-50?  

COLLECTION: I Turin, Biblioteca Reale (L.2724; inv. 16441 D.C).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS:[1] Kauffmann, 1926-27, p.171 (c.1639); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.300, repr. (c.1634; notes attribution to Rembrandt made by Lugt); Benesch, 1936, pp.35-36; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.522, repr. (c.1642-43; compares “delicate linear structure” to Benesch 0527 and Benesch 0550; also compares Benesch 0733-35); Exh. Turin, 2006-7, no.12, repr. (attributed to Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Valerius Röver (L.2983; portfolio 9, no.9: “De drie koningen van Dezelve [Rembrandt]”);[2] J. Goll van Franckenstein (with his number “N2905” verso; probably by descent until sale, Amsterdam, 1 July, 1833); Giovanni Volpato, Paris; Carlo Alberto of Savoy, King of Sardinia (acquired from Volpato, 1845); transferred by him to the present repository.

[1] Benesch, 1955/73, incorrectly states that the drawing was mentioned by Loeser, 1899, p.13, which, however, discusses the history of the collection of drawings in Turin but without mentiuoning this drawing.

[2] See Schatborn, 1981, p.39 for a transcription from the Röver inventory (though the inventory entry has not been connected with the present drawing before the present catalogue in 2020).

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0523

Subject:  A Shepherdess and Her Flock

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some white bodycolour. Inscribed lower left with the inventory number: “D.2757”

208 x 148.

COMMENTS: The drawing belongs with the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500). For the broadly handles passages, compare Benesch 0501-2 and Benesch 0503, while the tree in the middle distance resembles that behind Christ in Benesch 0513. The figure, as well as the use of the wash and some of the bolder lines, might be compared with Benesch 0506. As with the cited drawings, the free and confident handling suggests that Benesch 0523 was made towards the end of the 1640s or in the 1650s.

Condition: Generally good; some spotting or foxmarks, especially lower right.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date:  c.1650.

COLLECTION: F Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie (L. Supplément 238c; inv. D.2757).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.558; Exh. Amsterdam, 1935, no.54; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.523, repr. (c.1641-43; foreshadows Benesch 0552; compares Benesch 0502); Sumowski, Drawings, 8, 1984, under no.1879x (not impossible for Nicolaes Maes); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Jean-François Gigoux (1806-1894; L.1164), by whom bequeathed to the present repository.

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0524

Subject:  The Dismissal of Hagar (Genesis, 21, 9-24)

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white; a touch of red chalk by the figure of Sarah; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. 188 x 237 (23/24h); a section of the paper is inserted - see Condition - in which the chain lines are vertical but cannot be measured; the paper seems to be of a similar type as the rest of the drawing, but has a different watermark, on which see below). Inscribed verso in graphite, upper left: “No. 12” and “12” [in a circle]

Verso: see Inscriptions.

188 x 237. Watermark: on the main sheet, a fragment of a foolscap watermark; on the inserted section, a shield with a crown with Basel crozier, similar to Tschudin 226 (1637); chain lines: 23/24h.

COMMENTS: The drawing has suffered water damage from ill-advised conservation treatment, as is clear from an older, black and white photograph (the prime illustration here, also with details and comparative details at Fig.a). The damage undermines the sharpness of the lines and thus amplifies looseness in the style and any assessment of the quality of the drawing must now be largely based on this older image.

The subject, from Genesis 21, relates that Abraham's wife, Sarah, gave birth late in life to Isaac. She had previously been barren and so had permitted Abraham to take Hagar as his second wife, by whom his son Ishmael was born. After Isaac's birth, Sarah forced Abraham to expel Hagar and Ishmael from their home: “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away” (verse 14).

The immediate basis for the many treatments of the subject by (or attributed to) Rembrandt and his pupils are the versions by his master, Pieter Lastman, one of them copied in Benesch 0447, who also depicted the apocryphal gesture of benediction by Abraham.[1]  Further analogies exist with sixteenth-century representations, including an engraving by Georg Pencz (Bartsch 3) and a painting by Jan Mostaert .[2] Rembrandt produced an etching of the subject in 1637 (Fig.b; Bartsch 30; NH 166), with which the present sheet was long associated, but the relationship is not significantly more than generic and many commentators have observed that the liquid and somewhat slack style of the drawing appears to be later (see under Literature below).

Of the documentary drawings of the period around 1640-45, mention might be made of the Entombment in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 0482, recto), the Two Men in Discussion in the Courtauld Institute (Princes Gate Collection, Benesch 0500a), the Study for the Sick Woman in the Hundred Guilder Print in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 0183), the Blind Old Man for the same print in the Louvre (Benesch 0185) and the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736). In comparison with these, the attribution to Rembrandt of the present sheet does not inspire confidence. Its proximity to a drawing in the Rijksmuseum of Christ and the Magdalene (Benesch 0537), now generally ascribed to Ferdinand Bol,[3]. Nor can its similarity to another drawing that has long been given to Bol, the Joseph interpreting the Prisoners' Dreams in Hamburg (Fig.c), be ignored, whether in the description of the main figures, the shading in loops (in the Bol, sometimes with more strident zigzags). Yet the attribution of the latter is not wholly certain, although it remains generally accepted,[4] and the British Museum's drawing is consistently superior in quality, in the comprehension forms, the compositional design, the narration of the drama, the somewhat more varied and reasoned pressure on the pen, the individual characterisations, the understanding of light and in the description of the architectural background. Nor can Benesch 0524 easily be associated with other drawings that are unquestionably by Bol, for example, the documentary Bol drawings, Benesch 0167, the Three Maries at the Tomb, now in Munich (repr. under Benesch 0475, Fig.b) or the Holy Family of c.1643 in the British Museum (1836,0811.337; Sumowski 95; London, 2010 [online] no.3 as Bol).

Having curated, thought and published the drawing several times - a possible disadvantage? - the compiler has never wholly been able to desist from the belief that the drawing might, at least conceivably, be by Rembrandt, a view given some support from a number of comparisons: the head of Abraham resembles that of the father in Rembrandt's drawing in Haarlem of the Return of the Prodigal Son, both in style (note the outlining of the beard and the shading immediately below it) and in the profound characterisation (see the details in Fig.d; Benesch 0519; a similar image with other details is illustrated under Benesch 0220). The figure of Ishmael resembles the Three Orientals in Conversation in the Rijksmuseum, a drawing that comes close to the Carel Fabritius group (for which see under Benesch 0500) but which is still generally accepted as by Rembrandt, including by the compiler (see Fig.e; Benesch 0682).[5] The convincing psychological description of the main figures in Benesch 0524, including the artist’s capacity to capture both the sadness and tenderness in the expression of Hagar, or even the lumbering descent of the stairs by the fluffy dog, also seem beyond the usual capacities of Bol and other Rembrandt pupils. But the diagonal shading in the upper right section of the foliage is close to that in the figure of Abraham in Benesch 0524A. Compare also Benesch 0554 (qv), the slacker, more Bol-like characteristics of which also reinforce the compiler’s doubts. Both drawings, if by Rembrandt and probably if by Bol, too, should be dated to around 1642-46 on the basis of the analogies enumerated above. It must be stressed again that a judgment on the status of the present sheet can only be made with reference to the older photograph (see the black and white illustrations and also Fig.a, as well as below under Condition).

Several variants by Rembrandt's pupils and followers are known which seem to depend on Benesch 0524 – another reason, perhaps, for retaining it under his name. The closest are school copies or variants, one (Benesch 0524A) here catalogued as perhaps a sketch by Bol for the present composition, one in a private collection which follows the original closely but in reverse,[6] and another in the Louvre which is also horizontal in format and in which the three main figures are little changed, but it is probably based on yet another drawing.[7] The existence of such a large number of copies and variants suggest that Benesch 0524 was at least thought to be by Rembrandt at an early date. Two later versions by or attributed to Rembrandt himself also exhibit similarities with the London drawing (including Benesch 0961-62 – see n.1 below), as do several school paintings and drawings of the 1640s and 1650s.[8] The earliest that are dated are two paintings by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout and Jan Victors of 1642,[9] coinciding with the terminus a quo here suggested for the date of the present drawing.

Two reproductive prints were etched after the drawing by J. J. de Claussin (1795-1844). In one the composition is reversed.

Condition: The figure of Abraham is inserted on a separate piece of paper in the centre that does not completely fill the gap by Hagar’s right foot; comparison with an old photograph (illustrated, and see also Fig.a; probably taken c.1930 and certainly before Benesch, 1955) shows that the drawing has suffered from exposure to damp since this period (it may have been dampened to lift it from an old mat); as a result, the ink in the lines has run considerably and there is a water stain along the top right edge.

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? Rembrandt??

Date:  1642-46?

COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1860,0616.121).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS (references to the etching are to the Dismissal of Hagar of 1637, Bartsch 30; NH 166): Middleton, 1878, pp.197-8, under no.204 (study in reverse for the etching, with considerable differences; Michel, 1893, p.581; Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 (doubtful as Rembrandt); Seidlitz, 1895/1922, p.42/103, under no.30 (as Middleton, 1878); Lippmann, 1, no.101; Exh. London, 1899, no.A24 (compares to 1637 etching and dated to same period); Kleinmann, 2, no.51; Bell, c.1905, p.14, pl.xxiii; Valentiner, 1905, p.29 (c.1636-7; the child Rumbartus, Rembrandt's son); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.865 (c.1637, reminiscent of etching); Exh. Paris, 1908, p.27, under no.28 (relates to etching); Saxl, 1908.I, p.536, (inspired Munich forger to create Munich inv. no.1471); Becker, 1909, pp.55-7 repr. pl.IV (on narrative qualities); Wurzbach, 1910, p.417; Hind, 1912/24, 1, under no.101 (compares etching and Rijksmuseum drawing, Benesch 0916); London, 1915, no.34 (c.1635-40; near in date to etching; notes Amsterdam version, Benesch 0916, and doubts of Seidlitz, 1894); Eisler, 1918, pp.44-5, repr. fig.15 and pp.106, 117-18 and 237 (for the etching); Hirschmann, 1918, p.22 (school, based on Benesch 916, Rijksmuseum); Graul, 1920, p.23 (relates to etching); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.20, repr. (approx. same period as etching and Benesch 0499); Kauffmann, 1926, p.176, n.1 (c.1637-8); Weisbach, 1926, p.216 (later 1630s and thus after the etching); Van Dyke, 1927, p.51 (Bol); Müller, 1929, p.59 (c.1637, like the etching; Lastman influence, citing Rembrandt's Vienna copy, Benesch 0447); Hell, 1930, pp.22-3 and 36 (architecture and steps compared to earlier and later works); Paris, 1933, p.38, under nos.1208-9 (copy in Louvre, falsely dated 1650; another weak version in Louvre is based on British Museum sheet and Benesch 0916 in Amsterdam); Exh. Madrid, 1934, p.49, under no.49 (related to etching); Benesch, 1935, p.35 (c.1642/43); Hamann, 1936, pp.511-13 and 520, repr. fig.61 (later than the etching; detailed iconographical study); Exh. London, 1938, no.34 (c.1635-40); Amsterdam, 1942, p.20, under no.45, and p.29, under no.59 (1637, related to etching; follows Benesch 1935 in comparing Benesch 0537; second ref. dates British Museum drawing early 1640s; refutes Hirschmann, 1918); H. E. van Gelder, 1946, III, p.25 (broad execution; relates to etching); von Alten, 1947, no.28, repr.; 'Rembrandt Bible', 1947, no.4, repr.; Hamann, 1948, pp.30, 80 and 82-4, repr. fig.58 (c.1638, after the etching; relates to other variants, including Rembrandt's copy after Lastman in Vienna, Benesch 0447); Wallrath, 1949, p.103 (c.1637; notes inconsistent dating in Amsterdam, 1942); Münz, 1952, II, p.86, under no.174 (later than the etching, which is based on Tempesta); Bauch, 1952-3, p.229, n.13 (mentioned in error; the drawing referred to sold Sotheby's, 21 March 1973, lot 56, as noted by Sumowski, 1975, pp.183-4, n.62); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.524, repr. fig.652/693 (1642-3; compares Benesch 0520, the etching of 1637 and other versions that had been repr. by Valentiner, 1925; believes Louvre copy records another sheet, now lost); Biörklund and Barnard, 1955, p.67, under no.37A (relates in reverse to etching); Exh. London, 1956, p.24, no.1; Roger Marx, 1960, repr. p.212, fig.72a; Scheidig, 1962, pp.49-50, no.66, repr. (c.1642-4; subject rare outside Rembrandt's circle); Rotermund, 1963, p.14 and repr. pl.21; Stech, 1968/63, p.20 and repr. pl.36; Benesch, 1964, pp. 122-4, reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.256 (c.1642-3; most important sheet of the subject; compares Benesch 524a and rejects Louvre version); Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, p.65, under no.54; Slive, 1965, 1, no.102, repr. (c.1640-43); Fuchs, 1968, pp.46-7, repr. fig.8 (c.1639; relates to versions illustrated by Valentiner, 1925); Walsh, 1972, pp.105-114 (influenced Maes' drawing in Berlin [Sumowski 1764] related to Maes' painting in New York of 1653 [Sumowski, Gemälde, no.1315]); Bernhard, 1976, 2, repr. p.314; Exh. Milwaukee, 1976, p.28, under no.9 (influenced Van der Pluym); Haak, 1976/74, no.41, repr. (c.1642-43); Zafran, 1977, p.98, repr. p.103, fig.14 (1640s; compares versions by Victors; iconography based on Lastman and traceable to Mostaert); Sumowski, Drawings, 2, 1979, under no.526x); Sumowski, Drawings, 3, 1980, under no.736x (the basis for school drawings - see n.8 above; also as Walsh, 1972); Sumowski, Drawings, 5, 1981, under no.1207x; Hoekstra, 2 (deel 1), 1983, repr. p.24 (c.1640-43); Sumowski, Drawings, 8, 1984, under no.1764; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.40, repr. fig.40a, and under no.62 (mid-1640s); Sumowski, 9, 1985, p.4780, under no.2129x (beginning of 1640s; influenced Van der Pluym); Exh. Paris, 1986, p.110, under no.55 (compares Lastman painting Hamburg); Sumowski, Gemälde, 4, 1989, p.2364, under no.1591 (as in 1985); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2, pp.382-3 and n.8 (Ishmael seen from behind here and in Benesch 0962, differing in this from Lastman's painting in Hamburg or the painting attributed to B. Fabritius in San Francisco, Sumowski, Gemälde, no.547); Exh. London, 1992, no.41, repr. in colour (c.1642-46; much as the present catalogue text above: attribution to Rembrandt uncertain; recent water damage apparent from older photographs, etc. – see above); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.466 (by Bol?); Schatborn, 1994, p.22 (attribution questionable - as Exh. London, 1992); Giltaij, 1995, p.100 (by a skilful follower); Kuretsky, 1997, p.62, repr. fig.3-4; Exh. Bremen, 2000-2001, p.36, under no.3, repr. fig.a; Budapest, 2005, p.136, under no.130 (compares composition of drawing by S. van Hoogstraten of 'Flight into Egypt', in the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, Sumowski 1190x); Exh. Braunschweig, 2006, p.64, under no.20 (influenced S. van Hoogstraten, esp. figure of Hagar, in drawing in Braunschweig, inv.Z 337, Sumowski 1208x); Exh. Paris, 2006-7.II, p.113, under no.39, repr. fig.74 (more restrained mood than the etching); London, 2010 (online), no.75, repr.; Amsterdam, 2017, online at <hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.28558> [accessed 9 December 2020] (without expressing a clear opinion but quoting the compiler’s); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Possibly John Knight sale, London, Phillips, 20 July, 1841, lot 113 (‘Dismissal of Hagar – pen and bistre, fine’) bt Woodburn, £1-14-0; Samuel Woodburn (dealer); his sale, London, Christie's, 13 June, 1860, lot 1388 ('Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - Abraham dismissing Hagar - pen and bistre wash'), bt Tiffin for the present repository, £5-15s-0d).

[1] Hamann, 1936, includes numerous examples by Rembrandt’s pupils and others. Three drawings by Rembrandt, as well as his etching, could be autograph: two in the British Museum (the present sheet [with a question mark] and Benesch 0962) and one in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 0916; inv. RP-T-1930-2;  see Amsterdam, 1985, no.40, where dated c.1650). In Vienna is a black chalk sketch by Rembrandt (Benesch 0447) after Lastman's painting of the subject of 1612 in Hamburg. A version in Berlin (Benesch 0649) has in my view been correctly rejected as a Rembrandt by several authors, including Falck and Valentiner, and has been associated with Aert de Gelder (see Berlin, 2006, p.216, repr. p.215 and Berlin, 2018, no.80). A drawing exhibited as by Rembrandt at Marseilles in 1861 from the collection of M. Gendarme de Bavotte cannot now be identified (see Chaumelin, 1862, pp.161-2 and Vosmaer, 1868, p.450, and 1877, p.516). Soe other school versions are discussed below.

[2] For the iconography, see Hamann, 1936, C. and A. Tümpel in Exh. Berlin, 1970, under nos.6 and 7, Zafran, 1977, Exh. Amsterdam, 1984-5, pp.84-91 and Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2, pp.380-83. Drawn versions by or formerly attributed to Lastman are also repr. Freise, 1911, figs.38, 39 and 42.

[3] See Schatborn, 1985, pp.94-5, repr. fig.1 and online in 2017 at: <hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.28494> (accessed 8 December 2020. The comparison was first made by Benesch, 1935, and Henkel in Amsterdam, 1942 (see Lit. below).

[4] The attribution of the Hamburg drawing (inv. 22412; Sumowski  101) depended on its relationship to a painting at Schwerin, long attributed to Bol but now assigned to Kneller (Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, no.970, repr.). Blankert, 1982, no.D1, also doubted the attribution of the painting to Bol. See most recently on the drawing, Hamburg, 2011, no.122 (as Bol; online version at <https://online-sammlung.hamburger-kunsthalle.de/de/objekt/22412> [accessed 9 December 2020]). But cf. Benesch 0080.

[5] By Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985, no.26, repr. (as of the mid-1640s); see also in 2017 online at: hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.28544 (accessed 7 December 2020) and Schatborn, 2019, no.387, repr..

[6] Brought to my attention by e-mail from Christie's, Paris, 5 January, 2006. The drawing is very stained (I have not seen the original). It was later offered at Paris, Artcurial (F.Tajan), 19 January 2006, lot 3 (unsold) and subsequently acquired by a private collector (who kindly communicated this to the British Museum by e-mail on 15 August 2008).

[7] Inv. 22941. See Paris, 1933, no.1208, repr.; assigned by Bauch, 1952-53, p.232, and Sumowski, Drawings, 1980, no.736x, to G. van den Eeckhout. Other school drawings are repr. Valentiner, 1, 1925, nos.18-19, 21-25 (25 is Benesch 648]), 28-29 and 428 (the latter repr. Exh. Bremen, 2000-2001, p.27, fig.10 and p.175, no.A26 as perhaps by Victors, following Sumowski, 1963, p.98, no.126). See further on this drawing under Benesch 0524A, which may preserve the original composition before Benesch 0524A was cut.  Jacob van Dorsten's study of the subject in the Rijksmuseum is also based, in reverse, on the present sheet or another similar version now lost (see Sumowski, Drawings, 2, 1979, p.1128, under no.526).

[8] For example, those by Ferdinand Bol and Jan Victors, repr. Sumowski, Gemälde, 1, 1983, no.92, and 4, 1989, no.1731 (Victors painted the subject at least five times) and the drawing by Maes in Berlin (Sumowski 1764) which was probably done c.1653 for his painting of the subject in New York (Sumowski, Gemälde, 3, no.1315, repr. in colour). The figure of Hagar resembles that in a lost painting formerly attributed to Rembrandt but of dubious status, known through a mezzotint by J. Spilsbury (repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', 4, no.1758, as by Victors).

[9] Repr. Sumowski, Gemälde, 2, no.393, the Victors as in n.8.

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

 

Benesch 0524A

Subject:  The Dismissal of Hagar

Verso: Laid down on backing; seems blank

Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash. Inscribed on the backing in black chalk, upper centre: “No-19”; centre, in graphite (20th century): “Coll. A. Glüenstein (L.123)” and in pen and brown ink, lower centre (eighteenth century?): “A de Gelder” [underlined]

153 x 123.

Watermark: Basilisk (visible in transmitted light; similar to Briquet 844, datable 1644); chain lines: 22h.

COMMENTS: See under Benesch 0524 in the British Museum. As there noted, the present drawing shows an only slightly different arrangement of the figures (compared with Benesch 0524) as a drawing now in the Louvre which, however, shows a composition that is wider on both sides and above (see Fig.a). The compiler saw Benesch 0524A in March 1994 and believes it to be a good school work of the same period as Benesch 0524. It does not seem to be a copy after the Louvre drawing,[1] but rather vice-versa (as Benesch recognised, but ascribing the present drawing to Rembrandt himself), and the watermark of c.1644 suggests the time-frame during which it and the British Museum's drawing were made. It may have been substantially cut, while the Louvre drawing preserves approximately the original design, and retains parts of the background that were later removed with wash from Benesch 0524A.[2]

The style is close to a number of drawings by or attributed to Ferdinand Bol, including the Agony in the Garden in the British Museum and the Hagar and the Angel at the Well on the Road to Shur in the Rijksmuseum (see Fig.b). Note especially the generally free and imprecise penwork, the comparably loose wash, and also the detail of Hagar’s feet in Benesch 0524A, so similar to those of Christ in the British Museum’s drawing. If the British Museum drawing, Benesch 0524, is indeed by Bol, then the present drawing may have been a sketch towards that composition.  

Condition: Slight creasing and rubbing; verso has at lower right a remnant of an old blue backing, traces of which art also visible elsewhere; probably cut at both sides and above, and much of the landscape to the left erased, as noted in Comments above.

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol.

Date: 1644?  

COLLECTION: Private Collection.

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1964, p.123, repr. fig.20, reprinted Benesch, 1970, pp.256f., repr. fig.226; Benesch, 3, 1973, no.524A, repr. fig.692 (c.1642-43; the Louvre drawing [on which see above] a copy based on this now fragmentary study; relates to Benesch 0524); Bernhard, 1976, II, p.316, repr.; Sumowski, Drawings, 3, 1980, under no.736x (copy based on Benesch 0524); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: A. Glüenstein (L.123); reportedly with Sotheby’s London, c.1966; with Christie’s 1994 and art market, London, 1994.

[1] As supposed by Sumowski, loc. cit. under Literature above. The Louvre drawing bears an inscription, "RimBrant 1650", which is probably later and consequently given no weight here.

[2] This could have been done after the drawing was cut down and the ghostly remains of the trees behind Abraham and the left remain.

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

 

Benesch 0525

Subject:  The Dismissal of Hagar

Medium: Pen (with some reed pen) and brown ink with grey wash and later purplish wash (the latter by another hand, the grey wash perhaps also); ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso, lower left, with illegible scribbles in pen and brown ink.

135 x 141.

Watermark: crown from a double-headed eagle (cf. Heawood 1301; Churchill 442-43); chain lines: 24-25h.

COMMENTS: See the notes to Benesch 0524 and Benesch 0524A. There is some disfiguration of the drawing by some later rework in purplish wash, but the grey wash (pace Benesch) may perhaps be original.

This is another variation on the same theme, probably made c.1644 though possibly later, by a pupil who this time may be identified with some confidence as the artist of the “Carel Fabritius” group, for which see under Benesch 0500. Compare for the figure-style Benesch 0512, in which the shading in the lighter description of the daïs also coincides with that in the lower step here; and Benesch 0500, in which the head of the standing elderly man seen in profile to the right of centre resembles the old man’s head at the bottom of the sheet (upside down – see Fig.a, right). This also compares closely to the head of Isaac in Benesch 0509 (see Fig.a also).

The description of the bench to the right, with its vertical shading, relates to some degree to the style employed by Rembrandt and pupils for such motifs in the early 1650s (cf. the description of the sepulchre in Benesch 1009) and for this reason the span of possible dates is here extended wider than with Benesch 0524 and the other versions of the subject from c.1644-46, in order to accommodate the possibility that the drawing was made nearer 1650.

Condition: Generally good; discolouration and foxing at the periphery; later purplish wash.

Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?

Date:  1644-50?

COLLECTION: NL Haarlem, Teyler Museum (L.2392; inv. O*43, formerly Q*6 [1854] and O*63 [1864]).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Vosmaer, 1868, p.503; Vosmaer, 1877, p.584 (pupil; head at bottom of the sheet by Rembrandt); Michel, 1893, p.592; Haarlem, 1904, p.105; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1316 (attribution open to question; relates to Rembrandt’s etching of the subject [for which see here under Benesch 0524, Fig.b]); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.18, repr. (c.1635 if authentic); Kauffmann, 1926, p.176 (c.1637-38); Benesch, 1935, p.35; Hamann, 1936, p.543, repr. fig.103 (Rembrandt school, as Vosmaer, 1877; iconography of many Rembrandt and Rembrandt school versions; this and related drawings [Morgan Library inv.I, 216; also formerly J.E. Widener collection] based on Benesch 0447); Exh. Amsterdam, 1951, no.11 (c.1644); Exh. Haarlem, 1951, no.171; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.525, repr. fig.654/691 (c.1642-43; wash by a later hand; wrongly as from William Esdaile collection); Rosenberg, 1959, p.112 (not Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1961, p.10 (Van den Eeckhout?); Fuchs, 1968, p.46, repr. fig.80 (c.1635; companion with four drawings of the subject which vary the psychological emphasis); Sumowski, Drawings, 3, 1980, under no.563* (“school piece”); Exh. Amsterdam, 1984-85, no.74, repr.; Haarlem, 1997, no.335, repr. (mid-1650s; records Lugt’s opinion that the drawing might be by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout and that Sumowski did not include it as his work in Sumowski, Drawings, 1979 etc.; compares Eeckhout [Sumowski 767x and 769x] but believes by another hand); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: Acquired before 1822 by the present repository.[1]

[1] According to Haarlem, 1997, no.335.

First posted 19 December 2020.

 

Benesch 0526

Subject:  Joseph Telling his Dreams (Genesis XXXVII)

Verso: Laid down

Medium: Pen and brown ink, with some white bodycolour. Inscribed lower left in pen and brown ink (as if a signature, but spurious – see under Comments below): “Rembrant f"

174 x 243.

COMMENTS: The supposed signature at the lower left is a good imitation, but makes three mistakes: there is usually a separation rather than a link between the ‘m’ and the ‘b’, and the latter is also more looped than usual in the upright as a result; the form of the ‘r’ is incorrect; and the ‘d’ is missing, which is not the case in other drawings and paintings of Rembrandt’s maturity – and from the style the drawing cannot be from the Leiden or early Amsterdam period, when he occasionally did sign without the ‘d’.

Yet the ink in which the inscription is written appears to be the same as the ink of the drawing, so if the signature is false, is the whole drawing an imitation? This seems unlikely: the drawing has analogies with many drawings that are now ascribed to Ferdinand Bol: Benesch 0386 (where the figure below is comparable to Leah here), Benesch 0480 (in the background figures to the left), Benesch 0489 (where there are similarities in the figure of the Virgin Mary); Benesch 0527 (in the figure of Jacob and the broad, looping lines in the background), Benesch 0546 (compare the seated angel with Leah) and Benesch 0548.

Yet there are very many drawings associated with Bol, to which the drawing may also be compared with less productive results: the Joseph Telling the Dreams of the Prisoners of c.1641-45 in Hamburg,[1], the Three Maries at the Tomb, now in Munich (a documentary drawing  by Bol - see Benesch 0475, Fig.b – where compare also Figs.c and d), the Hagar and the Angel at the Well on the Road to Shur, now in the Rijksmuseum (see Benesch 0524A, Fig.b, left), the Agony in the Garden, in the British Museum (see Benesch 0524A, Fig.b, right), as well as Benesch 0102-3, Benesch 0125, Benesch 0127A (usually regarded as a documentary Bol), Benesch 0134, Benesch 0165 and Benesch 0167 (both documentary Bols), Benesch 282A, Benesch 0285a, Benesch 0292a, Benesch 0359, Benesch 0415, Benesch 0431, Benesch 0438 (another documentary Bol), Benesch 0476, Benesch 0478, Benesch 0490, Benesch 0492, Benesch 0493, Benesch 0494, Benesch 0524A and Benesch 0564

The purpose of this litany is to ensure that the reader understands the cataloguer’s predicament: all the documentary drawings by Bol that have been mentioned belong to the second category, of drawings that do not resemble Benesch 0526. This begs a further question, of course, as to whether all the drawings that do, along with Benesch 0526, are by the same artist, or whether – as intimated at the opening of this commentary – some of them may be later imitations of Rembrandt, or at least another Rembrandt pupil whose work is yet to be clearly defined.

In the present state of knowledge it seems reasonable to assign the drawing, not to Rembrandt, but to Ferdinand Bol, but only with the red flag of two question marks.

Condition: Good

Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol??

Date:  1645-50?

COLLECTION: A Vienna, Albertina (L.174; inv.8772).

FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1400 (compares Benesch 0527); Schönbrunner and Meder, 7, no.720, repr.; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.88, repr.; Bredt, 1927 ed., p.63; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Münz, 1936, p.104, repr. fig.10; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.526, repr. fig.653/694 (c.1642-43; compares Benesch 0527, Benesch 0528); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.89; Exh. Stockholm, 1956, no.110; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.64; Benesch, 1964, pp.123-24, n.11 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, pp.288-89, n.13); Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, no.31, repr.; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]

PROVENANCE: perhaps Charles Antoine Prince de Ligne and his sale, Vienna, Blumauer, 4th November and following days, 1794 (Bartsch, 1794, p.205, Rembrandt, no. 23; Lugt, Rep. 5245); Herzog Albert von Sachsen-Teschen (L.174).

[1] Inv.22412; Sumowski 101; Hamburg, 2011, i, no.122, repr. iii, p.46.

First posted 30 December 2020.

 

 

 

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