CATALOGUE: Benesch 500a – (in progress)

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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, (accessed 2 September 2020); Exh. Dresden, 2019, pp.59-61, repr. figs 21a-c (technical examination; states that the drawing is in iron-gall ink [which does not seem clearly to be the case]) and no.30, repr.; 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; Schatborn, 1978, p.134; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 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: Carel Fabritius?
Date: c.1645-50.
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.5254).
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] and to Benesch 0549); 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); Berlin, 2018, under no.157[Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: J. Barnard (?); Joshua Reynolds (?); Thomas Lawrence (?); William Esdaile; his Lawrence sale, London, Christie’s, 18 May, 1840, lot 47, bt Woodburn, 12s;[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. KdZ. 8513; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.24; Berlin, 1930, I, p.245; Berlin, 2018, no.157, repr..
[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.; 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); the drawing in 2022 was in the Hingst family collection, descendants of the architect and collector, Samuel de Clercq (1876-1962). A good photograph and provenance information was supplied by Terry van Druten of the Teyler Museum (e-mails to the compiler, 20th and 24th January 2022). The drawing discussed further under Benesch 0869.
[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 (see also note 1 above).

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: (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 depend on his appearance in Benesch 1039, a drawing often dated after Fabritius’s death in 1654 but more recently placed c.1645-47;[1] see also 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).
[1] Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.23.1.
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); Munich, 1973, no.1115; Schatborn, 1978, p.314 (doubtful); [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: Rembrandt.
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”; presence of St Anne as in 1640 Louvre painting [Bredius 563; Wetering 172]); 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); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.385, repr. fig.5 (as whereabouts unknown[!]; generally dated c.1645, a period when Rembrandt and his pupils made several other scenes of the nativity of Christ); Dibbits, 2006, pp.116-17, repr. fig.16 (has loose, expansive wash zone in the foreground that creates a strong contrast between light and shadow, which results in a clearly demarcated fore- and backgrounds, reminiscent of the Rijksmuseum’s The Holy Family at Night, as pointed out by van Dantzig; the central position of Mary in the painting corresponds to that of Mary in the drawing: thus the painter borrowed from many Rembrandt sources for this work); Schwartz, 2006, p.316, fig.566; Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.22.1 (c.1645); London, 2010 (online), no.39, repr. (c.1647); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.216, repr. fig.160, and pp.384-85, repr. fig. 5 (as “whereabouts unknown”[!]; Rembrandt may have used the drawing to demonstrate shadows to his pupils; generally dated c.1645, a period when Rembrandt and his pupils made several other scenes of the nativity of Christ); Corpus, 6, 2015, under no.86 (comparing several paintings, including 1632 Interior with Winding Staircase [Bredius 431; Wetering 86] as also prints in which a window included for special chiaroscuro effects); 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. Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.384-85 (see Literature), point out that many versions of the Holy Family by Rembrandt and his pupils date from the mid-1640s.
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; Sumowski 91; 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.
Comparable in style also is Benesch 0544 (qv), in which, however, while the background is similarly executed in thin, tentative lines, the figures are more robustly set down.
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.[6]
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 Benesch 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.[7] 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] Worthy of mention in this context is a painting in Berlin (that was once owned by Wilhelm von Bode, as by Rembrandt, Bredius 580), which depicts a similar dark arrival at the inn, with a comparable central group of figures with their shadows thrown against the wall behind. The painting looks to be a good school work of Rembrandt’s school, somewhat reminiscent of Willem de Poorter (see [accessed 3 January 2022]).
[7] Royalton-Kisch, 2000, p.162, repr. fig.40; Berlin, 2018, no.100.
First posted 1 November 2020 (note 6 added 3 January 2022).

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 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 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 the 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.
It is possible that the drawing should be 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 drawings 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. Yet at the same time, in the shading and especially in the outlines of the father’s lower drapery, in the area where white bodycolour has been used to correct the line, there are links with the earlier, documentary drawing in the Louvre of Claes Cornelisz. Anslo, which is signed and dated 1640 (Benesch 0759). The differences might partly be explained as those between an exacting portrait made from life and a composition derived from the imagination.
As noted in the introduction to this catalogue – and many times elsewhere – it cannot be assumed that Rembrandt always conformed to 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, later, period, c.1650. Overall, the more telling comparisons we have made above suggest a date in the region of 1641-45.
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: 1641-45?
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; compares 1642 St Petersburg painting of David and Jonathan [Bredius 511; Wetering 188]); 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.; Kuznetsov, 1971, under no.13 (as Van Gelder, 1957, compares 1642 St Petersburg painting of David and Jonathan [Bredius 511; Wetering 188]); 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, 1981, under no.1945x; Schwartz, 1984, p.224 (directly relates to 1642 St Petersburg painting of David and Jonathan [Bredius 511; Wetering 188]); 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; Corpus, 3, 1989, p.539 (pace Schwartz, 1984, not directly related to St Petersburg painting); Exh. New York-Chicago, 1989, no.69, repr. (c.1642); Haarlem, 1997, no.326, repr.; Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-2010, no.20.1, repr. (c.1642); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.221, repr. fig.176 (c.1642; compares iconography of emotionally-charged meeting of two men in Benesch 0606 and in the 1642 St Petersburg painting of David and Jonathan [Bredius 511; Wetering 188] all of approx. the same period); 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 (date changed from 1644-45 on 24 January 2022, adding the comparison with Benesch 0757).

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] 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 richer analogies with Rembrandt’s own drawings (as in Figs.b-e) become 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 – and ambitious – work by any artist as prone as Rembrandt was to experimentation (a topic discussed elsewhere in the catalogue and in the Introduction). Perhaps one drawing in the “Carel Fabritius” comes close enough to persuade us that the possibility of identifying him as a draughtsman remains a possibility (see Fig.h). The chief analogies beyond the general breadth of handling are in the background figures on the left of both drawings and in two passages of hatching, one immediately behind the head of Tamar, the other at the lower right (see the details isolated below in Fig.h). For this reason a question-mark is added to the attribution here, although overall, the compiler finds that, on balance, the comparisons with Rembrandt are the more convincing.
The idea that Benesch 0521 may have been made as part of a series of drawings of mythological subjects, 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?
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; Corpus, 2, 1986, p.492 (early 1640s; focus on Callisto, not Actaeon in contrast to the 1634 painting, now in Anholt, in which the Callisto episode also shown [Bredius 472; Wetering 130]); Slive, 2009, p.182, repr. fig.14.6 (c.1640-45); [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 [Fig.h and the question-mark added to the attribution, 1 August 2021].

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); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51 (also in Goll van Franckenstein collection); 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”
148 x 208.
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, 2, 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 [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: (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 [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: (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. O43, formerly Q6 [1854] and O63 [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 small ‘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 under Benesch 0524A, Fig.b, left), the Agony in the Garden, in the British Museum (see Benesch 0524A, Fig.b, right), the Holy Family, now in Darmstadt (Sumowski 195x) 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, Benesch 0553 (the seated Vertumnus is analogous to the seated Jacob in Benesch 526 but not more than superficially – the forms are significantly more secure in Benesch 526) and Benesch 0564.
The purpose of this litany is to ensure that the reader comprehends 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 look similar, 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 by 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; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, pp.51-52 (c.1638; the signature authentic; a development from Benesch 0525; relates more closely to the grisaille); Benesch, 1964, pp.123-24, n. 11 (signature not authentic as author knows of no other case where it is spelled without the ‘d’[!]); Benesch, 1964, pp.123-24, n.11 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, pp.288-89, n.13); Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, no.31, repr.; Corpus, 2, 1986, p.295 (not related to painting of Joseph telling his Dreams in Amsterdam, Corpus A66, Bredius 504, pace Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961); Exh. Washington, 1995-96, under no.70; Corpus, 5, 2011, p.34, repr. fig.29 (Rembrandt or pupil; the kind of drawing, not highly finished, that was used as models by Rembrandt’s pupils, either for copies or more complete works); Wetering/Corpus, 2015, under no.230, repr. fig.5 (passive Jacob listening contrasted with active figure in painting of a Seated Old Man -Eli? – now in Berlin [Bredius 269; Wetering 230], with which it had been compared by Müller-Hofstede); Van de Wetering, 2016, p.105, repr. fig.81 (as Corpus, 2011). [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.

Benesch 0527
Subject: Joseph Telling His Dreams (Genesis, 37, 5-11)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white.
173 x 224.
COMMENTS: The drawing depicts Joseph, on the right, who was the favourite son of Jacob, seen in the centre with his youngest son, Benjamin, at his knee. Joseph tells his father and half-brothers of his two dreams, which he interprets as meaning that they will, one day, bow down before him. Jacob subsequently rebukes him, and Joseph’s brothers (here grouped on the left), already jealous of him, decide to get rid of him.
The Old Testament story preoccupied Rembrandt in the 1630s, when he depicted it in a grisaille oil-sketch, now in the Rijksmuseum, thought to have been made in around 1634,[1] and in a dated etching of 1638, a variant of the oil on a reduced scale.[2] In preparing the grisaille, Rembrandt employed a red chalk study of an old man that he had made in 1631 for the figure of Isaac (Benesch 0020), which is repeated in the etching, for which two further sketches survive (Benesch 0161 verso and Benesch 0168). Rembrandt also produced an etching of Jacob with Benjamin in around 1637, which like Benesch 0527 also shows Benjamin between his father’s knees.[3]
An unusual iconographic feature of the present drawing, as of the grisaille and the 1638 etching, is the presence of Joseph’s mother, Rachel, in the scene, although she had died before the incident represented occurred. In the Washington drawing she may even appear twice, once in a bed in the background to the right (a pentimento revealing that her head was repositioned) and again immediately behind Jacob. This inconsistency is perhaps attributable to Rembrandt’s having based himself on the engraving of the subject by Lucas van Leyden (see Fig.a).[4] Yet the two figures of Jacob and a woman standing behind him are repeated in a different form in a (pupil’s) sketch of just these two figures (Benesch 0528).
The drawing has been variously dated by previous writers, who have either related it to the 1638 etching, or placed it, like Benesch, in the early 1640s. Its stylistic analogies with Rembrandt’s drawings suggest a date in the 1640s, although some details might support the slightly earlier period. For example, while the skimpily-outlined, seated figure in the left foreground is comparable to the kneeling Baptist in the documentary sketch in the Rijksmuseum of the Beheading of St John the Baptist of c.1640 (Benesch 0482 verso – see Fig.b, left), it also resembles the Samson in Benesch 0093 of c.1636-38 (see Fig.b, right). Another comparison, however, suggests that the drawing might be later: the upper background area here, with its free, meandering lines and broad but gentle wash, seems completely inseparable from the upper section of Benesch 0516, which we place around 1650 (see Fig.c, where it is also noted that the diagonal hatching above right may be compared with the hatching in Benesch 0886).
These similarities, however, do not inspire complete confidence in the autograph status, especially of the figures, in Benesch 0527, and other reliably authentic drawings of the period, such as the Two Men in Conversation of 1641 (Benesch 0500a; Courtauld) are less close in style. On a detailed, Morellian level, the figure of Joseph has sharply-pointed fingers which are hard to parallel in Rembrandt’s authenticated drawings. This figure is crucial to the composition, yet the artist has drawn him tentatively, his posture and gesture lacking the originality of his counterpart in the (probably) earlier versions mentioned above. As in many of the other figures, his outlines are fussed over and repeated many times, often failing to realise a definitive form, while in Rembrandt’s own drawings of this type a sense of direction and increasing precision is generally generated, with firmer pressure exerted on the pen as work progresses and the definitive form emerges in the boldest lines. But in Benesch 0527, the outlines remain not merely tentative but fragmented, interrupted and, when redrawn, executed in a manner that is not more decisive. The forms do not emerge with increasing clarity, but rather, often become more confused, as in the chimneypiece on the right. These untidy or even messy parts, a quality also seen in some of the figures (especially in the draperies), contrast with the customary clarity and economy of Rembrandt’s own drawings.
The figures’ expressions are another aspect of the drawing that strike an unusual note for Rembrandt, chiefly because they seem repetitive and not always appropriate or judicious in the context of the narrative. The brothers, according to the Bible, ‘hated’ Joseph, and after they heard him relate his dream, ‘they hated him all the more’. Yet the two standing in the middle of the far side of the table appear to smile amiably to one another; two others, behind Jacob, frown in concentration as they observe Joseph, while two others look out at the spectator with expressions of indifference, detached from the action. So many figures failing to engage psychologically with the events depicted is highly uncharacteristic of Rembrandt’s biblical illustrations. A further brother, seated at the left of the table, gesticulates in a somewhat ill-conceived pose, his head lolling on his shoulders, towards a figure that has been cut away – only his hands on the table remain (suggesting that the drawing has been trimmed). The brothers appear almost crushed together and there is little sense of the underlying menace of the story.[5] This goes against the grain of the very purpose and ambition of Rembrandt’s art.
If these strictures appear harsh on a drawing that is, without doubt, a work of exceptionally high quality, further comparisons should be made with drawings and compositions of the same type and period which have always been accepted as Rembrandt’s own work, such as the Jacob and his Sons in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 0541; see Fig.d). While some aspects of the drawing style, such as the delineation of the faces, seem at times close to Benesch 0527, the overriding impression of Benesch 0541 is of another, more precise hand at work, one with a more varied armoury of touch. The lines have a more lyrical, unifying quality, which leads to a greater economy of expression. For example, the form of the draperies, though containing some pentimenti, are defined with greater exactness, the darker lines emphasising particular profiles and folds in the cloth where the underlying work had been tentative. The contrast with the more broken penwork in the Washington sheet is clear, for example in the most finished figures, Jacob and Joseph, where the forms of the drapery emerge with less clarity despite repeated attempts to define them. Similar deviations appear in a comparison with the Mars and Venus Caught in the Net, now in the Amsterdam Museum (Benesch 0540 – see Fig.e). As Schatborn has written of Rembrandt’s drawings of this period, they may sometimes appear messy, “but on closer inspection his pen is always single-minded in its pursuit of the desired form”.[6] The variations in touch in both the Amsterdam drawings is matched by the variety of the figures, in type, expression and pose; they are arranged more inventively into distinct groups, each attending to the action or the words spoken with individual stances and gestures. This is characteristic of Rembrandt’s work at this and other periods, and may be observed in the celebrated Hundred Guilder Print of c.1648 (see Fig.f; Bartsch 74; NH 239), in which the background group of figures to the left might almost have provided a model for the present work.[7] In all these designs, Rembrandt’s approach to details such as the hands, or to facial features and expressions, is more precise than in the drawing, yet generally realised with more minimal means and greater success, even in the initial underdrawing. As an example, we here excerpt the head of Jacob from Benesch 0527 and place it next to a group of comparable old men, most of them drawn by Rembrandt but with a detail of Benesch 0524 at the lower left (Fig.g); the greater clarity of purpose and characterisation seems sufficiently clear in Rembrandt’s drawings, despite the pupil’s near-chameleon capacity to imitate him.
Other sheets that have been traditionally attributed to Rembrandt may be grouped with the Washington drawing, including the version of the subject in Vienna (Benesch 0526; here as Ferdinand Bol??), in which the main figures are reversed. The penwork has something of the same untidy slackness and the forms of the hands and other details are comparable, though overall the comparison is not fully persuasive. More similar is the elaborate composition drawing in a private collection of the Beheading of the Baptist (Benesch 0480), in which almost all the qualities we have enumerated are repeated (see the detail in Fig.h, left). This last drawing also includes the broad sweeps of brown wash that play such a part in the Washington drawing. They also appear in the drawing of the Metamorphosis of Io in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Benesch A039), a sheet that was doubted by Benesch and most commentators today would ascribe to Ferdinand Bol. But although related in style to the present sheet, it lacks the finesse and precision we see here.
Of the drawings that are still generally accepted as Rembrandt’s own work, the one that perhaps offers the closest similarities to the Washington sheet is the study of Three Men Being Beheaded, now in the British Museum (Benesch 0479; see Fig.h, right). But again, whether in the details or in the fluid character of the outlines, the style seems distinct from the drawings here grouped with the present work: the interaction between the figures is more alert and their arrangement significantly more sophisticated; only in the circled heads does the connection begin to look closer.
That the Washington drawing might not be by Rembrandt himself was first suggested by Ludwig Münz, who assigned it to Govert Flinck.[8] This seems to us wide of the mark and as we have seen, if any follower was capable of producing the drawing it was Ferdinand Bol. His style varies considerably, but his specific task in Rembrandt’s workshop (which he could have joined after receiving training in his native Dordrecht) was clearly to imitate his master’s style as closely as possible. A note written by Rembrandt on the back of a drawing of the mid-1630s (Benesch 0448, qv) lists copies by “f[?]ardynandus”, presumably Bol, that Rembrandt had apparently sold. Numerous drawings attributed to Bol, some of which we have mentioned, betray at least some of the characteristics noted in the Washington drawing, not least the Joseph telling his Dreams to the Prisoners, now in Hamburg (Sumowski 101; further details under Benesch 0492, n.4, and repr. under Benesch 0524, Fig.c). This exhibits similar traits in the broad, peripheral lines and in the use of wash. Yet in other respects the drawings appear different to a degree that makes a secure attribution for the Washington drawing elusive. For this reason, it is here catalogued under its traditional attribution, but with considerable reservations, which apply in almost equal measure to the attribution to Bol. However – and this is crucial – the comparison made in Fig.c with Benesch 0516 strongly suggests that the wash and the sweeping lines above (and perhaps the boldest lines to the right) are interventions by Rembrandt that were made to ‘bring the drawing together’, correcting and improving his pupil’s drawing and making for a more unified composition.
Condition: Good; trimmed into the framing line upper left and perhaps trimmed further at the left, as the hands on the table at the extreme left suggest a further figure was included there; two nicks from the paper along top edge and slightly ‘chewed’ at the top right corner.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?/Rembrandt?? Retouched by Rembrandt.
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: USA Washington, National Gallery of Art (Woodner Collection; inv.1991.182.12).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Vosmaer, 1877, p.585 (see under ‘Provenance’ below, 1866); Lippmann, I, no.7; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1231 (c.1638; compares etching, Bartsch 37; NH 165); Bredt, 1921, p.39; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.87, repr. (c.1638; as HdG); Kauffmann, 1926, pp.169-70, repr. fig.5 (c.1638); Bredt, Rembrandt-Bibel, 1927, 1, p.41; Benesch, 1935, p.37; Münz, 1937, p.105, repr. fig.11 (attributed to Flinck); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.527, repr. fig.657/695 (c.1642-43; compares Benesch 0733, 0734, 0735, 0739 and 0740; dog compared with Benesch 0528; rejects attribution to Flinck suggested by Münz, 1937); Hverkamp-Begemann, 1961, pp.51-52; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.88; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.51 (c.1638 and related to the grisaille; a second version of Benesch 0526, moving Joseph to the right and turning the figures; Benesch 0528 uses again the figure of Jacob from Benesch 0527); Benesch, 1964, pp.123-24, n. 11 (reprinted Benesch, 1970, pp.288-89, n.13); Slive, 1965, 1, no.224, repr.; Exh. Cambridge (MA), 1985, no.100 (list only); Corpus, 2, 1986, p.295 (not related to painting of ‘Joseph telling his Dreams’ in Amsterdam, Corpus A66, Bredius 504, pace Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961); Exh. Munich-Vienna, 1986, no.63, repr.; Exh. Madrid, 1986-87, no.75, repr.; Exh. London, 1987.2, no.63, repr.; Exh. New York, 1990, no.77, repr.; Exh. London, 1992, under no.38 and n.5 (not certainly Rembrandt; compares Benesch 0480); Exh. Washington, 1995-1996, no.70, repr. (‘attributed to’ Rembrandt; possibly by Bol); Exh. Washington, 2006; Exh. Washington, 2006-7; Perlove and Silver, 2009, pp.97 and 365, repr. fig.58 (in relation to Benesch 526; suggests Rembrandt’s Joseph ‘type’ related to his Jesus ‘type’); London, 2010 (online), under no.74; Exh. Washington, 2017; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: M. Hoof[d]man; her sale, Haarlem, Engesmet, 9 June 1846, lot A.33, ‘Eene Historiëele Ordonnantie met 14 beelden, met de pen en O.I. inkt’ [A Historical Composition with 14 figures, in pen and Indian ink]); Gérard Leembruggen Jz.; his sale, Amsterdam, Roos, Engelberts, Lamma and Roos, 5 March 1866, lot 470, bt Jan Six (according to Vosmaer, loc. cit. and Lugt, Marques, p.561); his sale, Amsterdam, Muller, 16 October, 1928, lot 62; Lady Violet Melchett; Matthiesen Gallery, London; purchased by Baron Paul Hatvany, 1947; his sale, London, Christie’s, 24 June, 1980, lot 74, repr.; Henry Hudson; purchased by Ian Woodner, New York, 24 May, 1984; by inheritance to his daughters, Andrea and Dian Woodner, New York, 1990 by whom presented to the present repository, 1991.
[1] Wetering 108, repr..
[2] Bartsch 37; NH 167 (for which see under Benesch 0161 and Benesch 0168).
[3] Bartsch 33; NH 165, with the traditional title of Abraham Caressing Isaac, but the subject recognised by Valentiner, 1, 1925, p.467, under no.87.
[4] It could be that neither Rembrandt or Lucas van Leyden intended to represent Jacob’s other wife, Leah, but her presence would be equally unprecedented.
[5] Contrast, for example, the groups of listeners in the Berlin grisaille sketch showing St John the Baptist preaching, of around 1633-34 (Bredius 555; Wetering 110), as well as the examples mentioned below.
[6] Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92, p.19.
[7] The oft-mooted idea that work on the Hundred Guilder Print began in the earlier 1640s might further encourage this theory (that the drawing dates from around the same time as the background figures in the etching). That these qualities are often present in general in Rembrandt’s work can also be gauged by comparing such drawings as the Allegory of Art Criticism of 1644 (Benesch A35a) and the Star of the Kings in the British Museum of c.1645-47 (Benesch 0736).
[8] Münz, 1937, p.105.
[9] For Bol’s training, see A. Blankert, Ferdinand Bol: Rembrandt’s Pupil, Doornspijk, 1982, and Werner Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandtschüler, vol. I, Landau-Pfalz, 1983, p.282.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0528
Subject: A Seated Old Man and a Woman (Jacob and Rachel)
Verso: Laid down on backing paper (but see Inscriptions).
Pen and brown ink (with some reed pen) with brown wash, touched with white (partly oxidised). Inscribed verso, in pen and brown ink, upper centre, ‘£3-10-.’ (this is partly visible from the recto); on backing paper, in graphite: “44” [circled]
180 x 163. Watermark: none; chain lines: 22h.
COMMENTS: The drawing is a partial representation of Genesis, XXXVII, 5-10, the subject of Benesch 0526-27, which were probably made around the same time (qqv): Joseph tells his father and brothers of two dreams which he interprets as meaning that they will one day have to bow before him. Only two listeners are shown, but from a comparison with the other versions (and others by Rembrandt and his pupils) it is clear that Joseph’s parents are represented here as they listen to his relation of his dreams. The presence of Jacob’s wife, shown also in the other two drawings, is not confirmed in Genesis although she is also shown in Lucas van Leyden’s engraving of the subject, a likely source for Rembrandt (Bartsch/NH 19 – illustrated under Benesch 0527, Fig.a).
The attribution of the drawing to Rembrandt is not wholly secure. There are reminiscences of Govert Flinck (see further below) but Rembrandt’s undisputed works in pen and ink of the 1640s are also not remote.[1] Mention might be made of a number of documentary drawings of the 1640s, such as Benesch 0500a, Benesch 0759 and Benesch 0606 and, perhaps especially, the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736). In the latter, the details of style and handling are sometimes particularly close, for example, in the shading (see Fig.a), the abbreviated animal (Fig.b) and the door-frames (Fig.c). Another close comparison may be made between the Jacob and the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Benesch 519; see Fig.d). These parallels suggest a date c.1640-45. At the same time, however, there are some touches in paler brown ink, apparently applied with a reed pen, such as the upper shading in the old man’s left leg; this again looks close to Rembrandt, but more in the style and technique of his work from the early 1650s. They appear to be additions and revisions rather than later corrections to a pupil’s work.
The drawing has long been associated with the two others of the same subject already mentioned, (Benesch 0526-27), which were all thought to have been sequential developments of the theme by Rembrandt. But a more likely scenario is that the three drawings were made by different pupils in emulation of Rembrandt. This hypothesis is bolstered by the resemblance to Benesch 0656 (qv; see Figs.e-f), a drawing that may be more cogently attributed to Govert Flinck. In the hatching, there are also links with Benesch 0080. It is on the basis of these analogies that Benesch 0528 is here tentatively attributed to Flinck as well.
A copy of the drawing is in Berlin.[2]
Condition: Generally good though a little dirty and faded; perhaps trimmed; white has partly oxidised; a slight loss, upper centre.
Summary attribution: Govert Flinck?
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (inv.1861,0608.149).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, Lawrence Gallery, 1835, no.62; Blanc, II, 1861, p.454; Vosmaer, 1868/77, p.434/501 (c.1633; perhaps a study for the ‘Portrait of a Shipbuilder’ in Buckingham Palace, Corpus A77, Bredius 408); Dutuit, IV, 1885, pp.85-6 (as Vosmaer); Michel, 1893, p.581, repr. opp. p.530; Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 (‘attrib. to’ Rembrandt; of ‘Abraham and Sarah’); Lippmann, I, no.109; Exh. London, 1899, no.A36 (entitled ‘Old Man Seated in an Armchair’); Kleinmann, III, no.37; Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XII; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.923 (A1645; compares paintings of Rabbis, Bredius nos.220, 229, 236, 240, 435 and Bode 295; notes pentimento in the hat); Saxl, 1908, p.233 (c.1641; probably same model as in etching Bartsch 259, Hind 169, and painted ‘Scholar’ of 1641 ex-Lanckoronski Coll., Vienna, Bredius-Gerson 219 [rejected]); Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; London, 1915, no.58 (c.1635-40; perhaps same model as Buckingham Palace portrait [repr. White, 1982, no.163], also used by Bol in his etchings Bartsch 7 and 10; compares for pose ‘Old Man’ in Leningrad, Bode 295 [not in Bredius]); Stockholm, 1920, p.69, repr. fig.82 (compares Stockholm ‘Old Man led by Boy’, Benesch 189); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.89 (c.1638, identifies subject as Jacob and Rachel listening as Joseph interprets his dreams, perhaps for the 1638 etching, Bartsch 37, Hind 160; compares V.90 now in Bredius Museum of same subject [inv.T.85-1946, not in Benesch] and animal to the drawing now in the Woodner collection, Benesch 527); Kauffmann, 1926, p.24, n.3 (c.1634-5); Van Dyke, 1927, p.52 (Bol; follows London, 1915, comparison of Bol’s etchings; compares Berlin ‘Angel leaving Manoah’, Benesch 0180, and Rotterdam ‘Abraham and the Angels’, Sumowski 235x [the latter also called Bol by Giltaij in Rotterdam, 1988, no.42]); Berlin, 1930, p.246, under no.3113 (notes copy in Berlin); Benesch, 1935, p.35 (c.1642-3; subject as ‘Jacob in an Armchair’); Exh. London, 1938, no.58 (c.1635-40); Guldener, 1947, pp.13 and 19 (uncertain if represents Jacob and Rachel; compares Benesch 527 [now in Washington]); Wallrath, 1949, p.102 (compares Amsterdam ‘Jacob and his Sons’, Benesch 541); Benesch, III, 1955/73, no.528, repr. fig.656/687 (c.1642-3; compares drawings of this subject in Vienna and now Woodner collection, Benesch 526-7); Exh. London, 1956, p.11, no.23; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, pp.51-2 (third in series of studies, ordered as Benesch 527, then 526 and 528; Jacob as in 527 but Rachel reversed; all datable c.1638 and with the oil in Amsterdam relate to the etching); Sumowski, 1961, p.10 (influenced Victors’ painting of 1652); White, 1962, repr. pl.4 (c.1642); Rotermund, 1963, p.21, repr. fig.52; Benesch, 1964, p.123, n.11, reprinted 1970, p.288, n.13 (follows Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, in placing the drawing last in the series of studies of this subject); Slive, 1965, I, no.111, repr. (c.1638); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.45 (attribution uncertain; lists with other versions by Rembrandt and school; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1967 (1964), p.109 (as in 1961); Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.111 (c.1637-8; precedes the etching of 1638); Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, under no.31; Haak, 1976/74, no.37, repr. (c.1642-3); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.318; Amsterdam, 1981, pp.34 and 53; Corpus, 2, 1986, p.295 (not related to painting of ‘Joseph telling his Dreams’ in Amsterdam, Corpus A66, Bredius 504, pace Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961); Exh. London, 1992, no.38, repr. (c.1641-45; attribution not wholly secure); Exh. Washington, 1995-96, under no.70; Giltaij, 1995, p.100 (Flinck?); Rosand, 2002, pp.230-32, repr. fig.218 (composition generates one figure after another; Rembrandt gives precedence to the figure before elaborating space); London, 2010 (online), no.74, repr. (attributed to Rembrandt; Flinck?); Schatborn, 2010, p.29, repr. fig.30 (as Govert Flinck); Bevers, 2013, p.103 (as Schatborn, 2010); Exh. Lisbon, 2014; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Benjamin West (L.419; the catalogues of his sales, London, Christie’s, 9-14 June and 1-6 July, 1820, describe most of the lots only cursorily); Thomas Dimsdale (according to Lawrence and Esdaile catalogues); Thomas Lawrence (L.2445; in MS inventory of his collection as Rembrandt no.86, case 1, drawer 2, 62: ‘An Old Man sitting in a chair, a Woman leaning on the back of it, vigorous pen, great expression’); William Esdaile (L.2617; see under cat. no.15; 1895,0915.1264); his sale, Christie’s, 17 June, 1840, lot 71, bt Woodburn, £20-0-0; Woodburn sale, fourth day, Christie’s, 7 June, 1860, lot 772, as ‘Rembrandt, Van Rhyn – A Jew rabbi seated in a chair, an old woman behind – broad pen and bistre’, bt Tiffin for £6-15-0, from whom purchased by the British Museum, 1861.
[1] Past attempts to date the drawing earlier, with the 1638 etching (Bartsch 37; NH 167; see under Benesch 0527) are unpersuasive and have often depended on comparisons with works in other media and/or of uncertain attribution. See further Giltaij, 1995 (see Literature).
[2] See Berlin, 1930, no.3113. Executed in pen and brown ink with white heightening, 159 x 134. The copy is fairly exact, but has weak additions to the wash and the left-hand figure (there shown with a skirt).
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0528a
Subject: The Prodigal Son with the Loose Women (Luke, 15, 11-21)
Medium: Pen and brown ink over traces of graphite. Inscribed between the nearer woman’s feet, obliquely: “Rembrandt”
187 x 222.
COMMENTS: For the subject, see under Benesch 0529 and under Benesch 0081, n.1. Rembrandt’s preoccupation with the subject found its first bloom in c.1635 with the Self-Portrait with Saskia as the Prodigal Son, now in Dresden (Bredius 30; Wetering 135). This has been severely cut down, but the present drawing, along with Benesch 0529, helps to confirm the iconography of the painting, which had long been taken for a joyful Self-Portrait of Rembrandt with Saskia, made soon after their marriage in 1634. But the presence of the board at the upper left of the painting (as here in the drawing), as well as of a woman playing a lute (visible only in the X-radiograph) who resembles the one in Benesch 0529, leave no doubt that the painting originally depicted the couple in the guise of the Prodigal Son.
Though Benesch 0528a is rather clearly a copy (of an unknown original), because of the graphite underdrawing, which only appears on copies of drawings of this type, the drawing seems redolent of Rembrandt’s style in the 1630s – the time of the painting – as practised by Govert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol and Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. However, the more forceful and liquid touches, especially below the nearer arm of the prodigal on the right, are equally reminiscent of Rembrandt’s work of around a decade later.
The closest stylistic comparisons are with works not by Rembrandt himself, but with drawings such as Benesch 0489, here ascribed to Ferdinand Bol. For this reason, his name is tentatively suggested here as a starting-point for further investigations concerning the putative original. Bol’s studies for the Amsterdam Town Hall (for example, Munich and Vienna (Sumowski 110-111 and 115; Exh. Amsterdam, 2017-18, figs. 172-74 [Munich inv.1748-49 and Vienna inv.9554]) seem comparable, but to secure the attribution to him, comparisons with such drawings as Benesch 0165, Benesch 0167 and Benesch 0492 would ideally have been considerably closer; and hopefully, of course, the original may yet turn up.
Condition: Much foxed and stained.
Summary attribution: Copy – after Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645-50?
COLLECTION: F Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts (inv.1859.C ).[1]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.528a, repr. (c.1642; compares Benesch 0517 and Benesch 0686; perhaps made in connection with Benesch 0529); Rosenberg, 1959, p.112 (copy?); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (copy); Sumowski, 1961, under Benesch 528a (copy); Campbell, 1970, p.296 (“unashamedly bawdy”); Kahr, 1973, p.257 (relationship to Dresden painting; see n.1 below); Amsterdam, 1981, p.34, under no.3, repr. fig.d (compares Benesch 0540); Corpus, 3, 1989, pp.142-43 (compared with Dresden painting of the Prodigal Son of c.1635 [Bredius 30; Wetering 135]); Corpus, 4, 2005, pp.225-27, repr. fig.208 (Rembrandt or pupil; discussing relationship to Dresden painting); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Unrecorded.
[1] Kahr, 1973, p.257 contacted the curators who were unable to locate the drawing in Orléans at that time; but I have received kind confirmation of its existence there and other details from Raphaëlle Drouhin (e-mail 8 February, 2021), who also supplied the image.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0529
Subject: The Prodigal Son with the Loose Women (Luke, 15, 11-21)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash. Inscribed verso, lower left, in graphite: “TR 2029/1”
177 x 210.
COMMENTS: The drawing relates to Rembrandt’s painting on canvas of around 1635, now in Dresden, showing him with Saskia, which has apparently been reduced in size by around two-thirds, making it little more than a fragment (see Fig.a). The X-radiograph of the painting (included in Fig.a) reveals that between the two main protagonists, there was originally a nude woman playing a lute, which closely resembles the figure in Benesch 0529, where, however, she appears further to the right. This coincidence assisted in confirming the iconography of the painting as more than simply a representation of Rembrandt with his wife, and the subject-matter was further rendered identifiable by the chalking-up board in Benesch 0528a (qv), part of which remains visible at the top left of the canvas. In Benesch 0529, the bust-like shape to the left of centre might also be taken as of someone chalking up the board, although this is very far from certain – superficially, it looks more like a portrait bust, but a raised right arm seems to be indicated in wash.
Like the Dresden painting, the drawing shows the woman seated on the man’s lap, a motif encountered in the same years as the painting in Benesch 100 verso, towards the right (qv). But in the painting as it survives, there are no nudes and the poses are so different that there is insufficient congruity to ‘engage’ the drawing as a preparatory study for the painting. In many parts the breadth and liquidity of the handling is considerably more reminiscent of Rembrandt’s sketching style in the 1640s than the 1630s, as Benesch rightly surmised, so that the cataloguer is left with a kind of palimpsest for a problem: was it made when the painting was first begun, in c.1635, or almost a decade later; and if it was later, how can the detail of the lute-player so closely follow what is now only to be seen by X-radiography underneath the surface of the picture, which most authorities believe was completed in the later 1630s? One might speculate that other sketches by Rembrandt and/or his workshop survived to inspire a pupil at a slightly later period.
Overall, the handling of Benesch 0529 seems too loose for Rembrandt himself, least of all in the 1630s, and the lack of precision and the oft-repeated outlines in nearly every part seems closer to the work of Ferdinand Bol. Comparable is the main figure group with that in Benesch 0165, widely considered to be by Bol (see Fig.b), although the analogies with Bol’s more certain drawings, such as the Liberation of St Peter, the Three Maries at the Tomb (Sumowski 97, repr. under Benesch 0475, Fig.b, and under Benesch 0493, Fig.b), the British Museum’s Holy Family[1] and the Elijah Dreaming Beneath a Tree (Benesch 0167) are lacking, making the inclusion of a question mark beside this attribution mandatory. In these and other documentary drawings by Bol, the touch is never as broad and liquid as here; and there are also similarities in the background with Benesch 0392 (Fig.c). Given these analogies and also the significance of the drawing for the study of Rembrandt’s painting, as well as the related possibility that a drawing by Rembrandt himself inspired the present work, the idea that it is based on a Rembrandt design is also included in the ‘Summary attribution’ below. A date in the early to mid-1640s seems likely.
Given the nudity of the two women to the right, the image is more overtly sexualised than in most of the many precursors for this subject in art,[2] although nudity was shown in versions by Cornelis Van Haarlem (in 1618)[3] and, to a lesser extent, by Jan van Bronchorst in a painting now in Braunschweig of 1644,[4] both of which also show a woman astride the lap of a customer.
Another version is preserved in Benesch C42, while a copy of right section of Benesch 0529 in Berlin.[5]
Condition: Generally good; perhaps slightly trimmed.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? (After Rembrandt?)
Date: 1643-45?
COLLECTION: D Frankfurt, Städel Museum (L.2356; inv.16335).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS (references to the ‘painting’ are to the Self-Portrait with Saskia as the Prodigal Son, Dresden, Bredius 30; Wetering 135): Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1512 (in Strauss collection; “sorgfältig lavierte Federzeichnung”); Saxl, 1908, p.224 (based on Lastman’s Judah and Tamar); Schönbrunner and Meder, no.36 (school of Rembrandt); Bredt, 1921, 2, p.54; Kauffmann, 1926-27, p.173 (c.1634); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.386, repr. (c.1634); Benesch, 1935, p.36; Benesch, 1947, no.124, repr.; Exh. Basel, 1948, no.10; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.529, repr. (c.1642-43; probably connected with Benesch 0528a; style transitional between Benesch 0661 and Benesch 0686; compares also Benesch 0508, Benesch 0523-24; Benesch 0527, Benesch 0530 and Benesch 0532; cf. lost original copied in Benesch C42; copy of right section only in Berlin, HdG 134; Valentiner 771B); Campbell, 1970, p.296 (“unashamedly bawdy”); Mayer-Meintschel, 1970-71 (as quoted by Kahr, 1973; Benesch 0529 indeed the basis for the Dresden painting; Rembrandt worked on the painting in c.1634 and again in later 1630s [Neumann, 1905, I, p.219, n. 2 had suggested begun c.1635/36 and then worked on again over the next few years]); Kahr, 1973, p.257, n.66; Stuffmann, 1979, p.306; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under no.186x; Sumowski, Drawings, 9, 1985, under no.2207; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.76; Corpus, 3, 1989, pp.143-44, under no.A111, repr. fig.6 (relationship with the Dresden painting confirms the iconography of the latter; Benesch’s date to late); Exh. Frankfurt, 2000, no.64, repr. (attrib. to Ferdinand Bol); Corpus, 4, 2005, pp.217 and 225-27, repr. fig.208 (Rembrandt or pupil [F. Bol?]; discussing relationship to Dresden painting); Slive, 2009, p.99, repr. fig.8.7 (c.1635); Van de Wetering, 2009, repr fig. 123 (as Rembrandt or pupil [F. Bol?]); Corpus/Wetering, 2015, p.547, under no.135, repr. fig.1 (Rembrandt or pupil; as Mayer-Meintschel, 1970-71, suggested, the painting originally larger – twice the size – comparable in proportion to Benesch 0529); Exh. Dresden, 2019,, under no.25, repr. fig.32 (Bol, c.1636-39; related to the Rembrandt painting [on which see Comments above]); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: A. Artaria sale (L.33), Vienna, Artaria, 6 May, 1896, lot 1012, repr.; Dr Strauss; Dr H. Eissler; Robert von Hirsch; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 20 June, 1978, lot ??; acquired in 1977 by the present repository.
[1] Inv.1836,0811.337; Sumowski 95; London, 2010 [online] no.3, repr. as Bol.
[2] See Campbell, 1970, p.296.
[3] Van Thiel, 1999 , no.58, repr..
[4] Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum (inv. 190); see Exh. Utrecht, 1986-87, no.50, repr..
[5] As pointed out in both cases by Benesch. The Berlin Copy is HdG 134; Valentiner 771B. b
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0530
Subject: Samson and Delilah (Judges, XVI, 18-21)
Medium: Pen and greyish-brown ink and wash, with white bodycolour.
190 x 233. Watermark: Crowned eagle.
COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0529, which exhibits some stylistic features in common with Benesch 0530 (the liquidity, breadth and somewhat unvaried pressure of the pen lines; the broad wash which also occasionally models and amplifies the forms) this highly-regarded drawing resembles works by Ferdinand Bol, without being sufficiently close to his documentary works to secure an attribution to him. The two works probably date from the same period but are not necessarily by the same hand. Worthy of mention is the comparability of the head of Samson with the priest to the right of centre in Benesch 0500, attributed to Carel Fabritius (see Fig.a – both drawings also have stronger lines in the figures over more tentative, initial ones, a characteristic of Rembrandt), and of the passage of shading above the two main figures to that in the central area of a drawing also attributed to Carel Fabritius of Peasants Gathered by a Hut (Fig.b), but overall the style, especially in the figures, diverges significantly, so that an attribution to the same hand seems improbable.[1]
Again like Benesch 0529, the inspiration is likely to have been derived from the many treatments in paintings by Rembrandt of stories of Samson, dating from the mid- to later 1630s, including the celebrated depiction of violence in the Taking of Samson of 1636 (Bredius 501; Wetering 148), now in Frankfurt. The mood here, however, suggests the complete calm before the storm, as Samson sleeps on Delilah’s lap. Compare also Benesch 0093, another Taking of Samson by Rembrandt. Benesch A32 (Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum) is a school drawing of the same subject, perhaps attributable to Willem Drost and dating from the earlier 1650s.[2] If by Bol, the present drawing is likely to be later than his documentary drawing in the British Museum of c.1643.
Condition: Generally good; some foxing, upper right and along the lower edge in the right half of the sheet.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645-50?
COLLECTION: NL Groningen, Groninger Museum (inv.1931-197).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Becker, 1923, no.24; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.142, repr. (c.1634); Kauffmann, 1926, p.162, repr. p.173, fig.1 (c.1637-38); Exh. Groningen, 1931, no.98; Benesch, 1935, p.36; Exh. The Hague, 1935, no.55; Exh. The Hague, 1938, no.98; Exh. Groningen, 1952, no.66; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.530, repr. (c.1642-43; compares Benesch 0529; also Benesch 0541 and Benesch 0543; the contrasts in style resemble Benesch 0519); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.79, repr. (c.1635-38); O.K.W. Mededelingen, 23, 1956, p.16; Exh. Recklinghausen, 1960, no.D112; Scheidig, 1962, no.54, repr.; Rotermund, 1963, no.87, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964, no.68, repr.; O.K.W. Mededelingen, 28, 1964, p.64; Groningen, 1967, no.60, repr. (composition derived from 1628 painting; lack of inhibition in the draughtsmanship); Corpus, 3, 1989, p.192 (Ferdinand Bol?; perhaps inspired by the Frankfurt painting Bredius 501; Wetering 148]); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Reekers (according to Benesch); Argoutinsky; his sale, Amsterdam, December, 1922; C. Hofstede de Groot (inv.692), by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1930.
[1] Other drawings recently attributed to Fabritius, such as Benesch 0488 and Benesch 0538, also diverge in their more lyrical and scrolling lines.
[2] See (accessed 1 March 2021).
[3] See
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0531
Subject: Christ and the Adulteress (John, 8, 2-11)
Medium: Pen and brown ink.
170 x 190.
COMMENTS: The Pharisees, trying to trick Christ, brought an adulterous woman before him and his followers, stating that according to Moses, her punishment should be death by stoning; Christ, who was writing on the ground (the reason for which is much disputed), replied: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. The crowd quickly melted away and he forgave the woman, enjoining her not to sin again.
Most versions of this common subject – portrayed by Rembrandt and his pupils in a number of paintings and drawings – show Christ in the act of writing as the woman is brought towards her, but sometimes she kneels before him, as here, as well as in Rembrandt’s celebrated painting of the subject of 1644 (Fig.a; Bredius 566; Wetering 196).[1] Also from Rembrandt’s circle are Benesch 0532-35 (the latter showing only the woman, and only presumably) and Benesch 1046, and there are paintings by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout of the first half of the 1660s, Aert de Gelder, and by or attributed to Jacob de Wet.[2]
In style the drawing sits firmly in the ‘Carel Fabritius’ group (for which see under Benesch 0500). Particularly close, perhaps, are Benesch 0506 (compare the profiles of the figures on the left of both drawings, with the simplified ear), and the loops in the upper right, and the lines for the background, which match those in the upper centre and right of Benesch 0487. Of the other drawings mentioned above, only Benesch 0533-34 (qqv) might be by the same hand, but with their centralised placement of Christ they belong to one another more than with the present sheet. Only the full-length figure on the left here has an echo, in the same position in Benesch 0534.
The design here appears to depend to some degree on Raphael’s celebrated design for a tapestry cartoon depicting Christ’s Charge to Peter, which would have been known in seventeenth-century Dutch artists either through an engraving, such as Diana Scultori’s (see Fig.b, where illustrated in reverse) or that by Pieter Soutman after Rubens’s own take on the Raphael (Fig.c), though Rubens there gave the figure of Christ a more Baroque pose and the date of the print is uncertain, or else through a drawing.[3]
Condition: Good.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?
Date: 1650?
COLLECTION: Private Collection, Japan (?).[4]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1953, no.314 (c.1658-59); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.531, repr. fig.660/700 (c.1641-44; the earliest of the versions of the subject in Benesch 0532-34 and Benesch A14; broad reed pen resembles Benesch 0487, Benesch 0502, Benesch 0504, Benesch 0506 and Benesch 0518); Drost, 1957, p.184 (influenced by Elsheimer); Rosenberg, 1959, p.111 (where omitted and thus not accepted [cf. Benesch 0532]); London, 1960, p.309; Roger-Marx, 1960, p.227 (c.1642-44); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (as Rosenberg, 1959, Rembrandt imitation); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 and 1962, p.31 (Van den Eeckhout; related to painting formerly in Six collection); Benesch, 1963, p.84; Sumowski, 1963, p.210, under no.47 (as Sumowski, 1961); Bauch, 1966, mp.5, under no.72; Bredius-Gerson, 1969, p.608, under no.566; Gerson, 1969, p.497, under no.208 (one of the studies for the London paintings “some of them are copies”); Benesch, 1970, p.242; Munich, 1973, p.167, under no.1145(quoting Sumowski’s attribution); Exh. London, 1976, p.72, under no..87 (in context of London painting); Keyes, 1977, p.62, no.111, repr.; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, no.218x, repr. (Ferdinand Bol, mid-1640s, refuting Sumowski, 1961; compares Benesch 0504 [S.214x] et al.); Exh. New York, 1995–96, under no.76, n.2 (compares Benesch 0200, et al.); Exh. Fukuoka, 1981; Exh. London, 2006.I, under no.10; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: J. McGowan; his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 2 November, 1949, lot 29; C.R. Rudolf; his sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby-Mak van Waay, 6 June, 1977, no.111; sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby-Mak van Waay, 3 April, 1978, lot 63a.
[1] Precursors include the painting dated 1565 and now in London by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Courtauld Institute, inv. P.1978.PG.48; Sellink, 2007, no. 140), a composition probably known to Rembrandt only through the engraving by Pedro Perret (NH A2; Bastelaer 111). But like most of the earlier representations of the subject it shows Christ stooping to write on the ground.
[2] Cf. also such later drawings as Benesch 0964, Benesch 1038 and Benesch 0146-47. The Van den Eeckhout painting is in Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum, inv.A106; Sumowski, Gemälde, II, no.442, repr.; for another version, see loc.cit, no.441, repr.); Sumowski, 1961 and 1962 (see Literature above) thought the present drawing might be a sketch by Van den Eeckhout for his painting, but later rejected the idea (Sumowski, 1979). The De Gelder painting, of 1683, is in Madrid (Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, inv.1828.6; Sumowski, Gemälde, no.737, repr.; Exh. Dordrecht, 1998-99, no.17, repr.); the De Wet paintings include examples formerly on the Munich art market (see Jager, 2018 , pp.86-93, repr. p.93), on the Amsterdam market (Christie’s, 6 November, 2006, lot 90; Jager, 2018 , repr. p.91) and in a private collection in Sweden (was sold from the collection of Albin Schram – Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 9 November, 1999, lot 42, repr.); Jager, 2018 , repr. p.94). A version attributed to Abraham van Dijck (Sumowski 581xx) was sold from the collection of Albin Schram, London, Sotheby’s, 29 July, 2020, lot 214, repr..
[3] There is a school of Raphael drawing in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (inv. no.3863), a version of which is in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence (inv. no.1216E). The engraving by Pieter Soutman (Fig.c) is nearer to Rembrandt’s orbit than the Scultori, but the figure of Christ is less close and the date of the print is uncertain. For Raphael’s influence on Rembrandt, see under Benesch 0348 (a copy after Paul Preaching in Athens, with a list of Raphael items in Rembrandt’s 1656 inventory) and Benesch 0451 (after Raphael’s Portrait of Castiglione), as well as Benesch 0180, Benesch 0188 and Benesch 0475.
[4] I am grateful to Brian Pilkington, who provided this information and the colour detail illustrated (e-mail 28 June, 2011), since when the drawing could have changed hands.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0532
Subject: Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (John, 8, 2-11), with a Sketch of the Head of a Woman
Medium: Pen and brown ink, corrected with white bodycolour. Numbered in pen and brown ink, top left (by Bonnat): “72”
154 x 135. Watermark: Basel Staff in a crowned shield.[1]
COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0531 and Benesch 0533-35 (qv), Rembrandt’s 1644 painting of the subject in the National Gallery, London, probably inspired the present drawing (repr. under Benesch 0531, Fig.a). Yet the design and execution of this drawing suggests a different hand, one which, though neat and not without quality, reveal considerably more timidity, despite some superficial analogies, even with Rembrandt’s his own sketches of the 1640s – one might point to Benesch 0188, Rembrandt’s documentary Study for the Hundred Guilder Print, of c.1645-48 (see Fig.a). The head at the top right, which may be a revised suggestion for the figure standing to the right, as well as the heads of Christ and of the two men – probably pharisees – standing immediately to his right, are reminiscent of Nicolas Maes in their somewhat geometrical rendering (including the wedge-shaped noses) and in the Rembrandtesque differentiation of touch between the tentative, initial lines and the bolder, more confident strokes added as work progressed (for example, see Fig.b, which however dates from the 1650s).[2] While a secure attribution remains elusive, the drawing could well have been made by Maes much earlier, around the time that he first entered Rembrandt’s studio, in around 1648.
Condition: Some stains and overall discolouration, and somewhat spotted with ?foxmarks, especially in the upper half.
Summary attribution: Nicolaes Maes?
Date: 1648?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886a; inv. RF 4699; MS inventory, vol.20, p.268).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.589; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.691 (identifies subject); Paris, 1933, no.1134 (c.1641-44; first idea for 1644 London painting of the subject); Benesch, 1935, p.35; Exh. Paris, 1937, no.132; Exh. Milan, 1954, no.242; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.532, repr. (c.1641-44; groups with Benesch 0531 and Benesch 0533-34, and Benesch A 42; relates to the London painting but suggests drawing a few years earlier and that the painting was likely in gestation for a considerable period); Rosenberg, 1959, p.111 (the only authentic drawing in Benesch’s group); Foucart, 1966, p.49, no.81 (figure corrected in white to right the adulteress, not the kneeling figure[!]); Gerson, 1968, p.496; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under nos. 93 and 218x (Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.37, repr. (relates to works of early 1640s); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.135, no.37 (Maes?, comparing Sumowski 1766; Rotterdam inv. R 54); London, 1991, I, pp.328-30 (derived from National Gallery painting); Exh. London, 2006.I, under no.10 (not Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 2006-7.III, p. 2 (N. Maes?); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Count A.F. Andreossy ; his sale, Paris, 13-16th April, 1864, lot 347; bt by Léon Bonnat (L.1714; with his album number, top left: “72”) between 1885 and 1893; presented by him to the present repository, 1919.
[1] I am grateful for the assistance of Olivia Savatier-Sjöholm (e-mail, 19 March 2021) who kindly sent me the image, which is from Paris, 1933 (see Literature).
[2] His name was first suggested by the compiler (Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.135, no.37; see also Exh. Paris, 2006-7.III, p.2). In an e-mail to the compiler of 31 March, 2000, William Robinson felt that the attribution was acceptable. The Maes drawing illustrated in Fig.b, from the so-called Dalhousie albums, is described by Robinson, 1996, p.318, no.9, and was auctioned in New York, Christie’s, 29 January, 2015, lot 56, repr..
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0533
Subject: Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (John, 8, 2-11)
Verso: see inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink with wash and some later pinkish-brown wash. Inscribed by Bonnat in pen and brown ink, top right: “73” [his album number]; inscribed verso in pen and brown ink, by Rembrandt: “Staen[??] sal[?] vallen [? – these first three words are crossed out] daer[? me] de [?] ul. schuwen sal […] / Rembrandt van” [at this point the sheet is cut off (“stand shall fall because the [?] will shun [or perhaps “warn”] you […] Rembrandt van”); the verso has also been inscribed in graphite with the present inventory number – see the illustrations.
183 x 160.
COMMENTS: As Benesch pointed out there have clearly been additions made by another hand – the one responsible for various other interventions (he noted Benesch 0484, Benesch 0811 and Benesch 0866). These later amplifications include much of the background wash and also some within the figures, including the kneeling adulteress, as well as the penwork in the foliage to the left of the building and the shadowing of its window.
However, the initial, original outlines and wash cannot be related to Rembrandt himself, except in a general sense, reflecting as they do his style in the 1640s. Several passages evoke the hand responsible for the “Fabritius Group” (see under Benesch 0500), especially the bolder, dancing lines towards the left. These are strongly reminiscent of such drawings in the group as Benesch 0487 (also on the left), and Benesch 501. There are also links, in the more timidly-drawn sections (including the figure of Christ), with Benesch 0525 – clearer than those with Benesch 0532 – and the combination of all these analogies prompt the drawing’s inclusion among those tentatively ascribed to Carel Fabritius.
While it could be that Rembrandt’s clearly autograph inscription on the verso, rather like that on Benesch 0147 (qv), was an instruction to a pupil concerning how better to represent the subject, it appears more likely that the words might have been written in the context of the artist’s bankruptcy in the 1650s, in which case they might be in some way linked to the inscription on the verso of Benesch 1169, now usually regarded as from the mid-1650s. Certainly, the handwriting is analogous, if more casual in style. Needless to say, given the inscription’s fragmentary nature, these suggestions are speculative. But the latter possibility becomes the more plausible if the drawing is dated near Benesch 0534, here assigned to c.1652-54, which is apparently developed from it. Both drawings are in any case placed here in the same period for reasons of style.
The inscription (illustrated here with a detail of the less legible, first section of it) on the verso is partly visible from the recto along the very right edge, ending at the top (the last word of the first line, “sal”, is still legible); it was thus written at a 90-degree angle to the sense of the drawing on the recto. As the signature is cut off before the “Rijn” of the artist’s name at the edge of the sheet, it could be that the drawing was originally somewhat taller. On the other hand, it may be that the sketch was made on the back of a discarded written draft and the sheet then trimmed before the drawing was made. At all events, the inscription provides clear evidence that the drawing as made in Rembrandt’s own workshop. If drawn by Carel Fabritius, the suggested date of c.1652-54 makes an attribution to him problematic, as he is not known to have been in Amsterdam in the last few years of his life.[1] If the drawing is as late as 1655 or even 1656 as is now suggested for Benesch 1169, then the attribution to Fabritius would fall aside.
Condition: Generally light struck and with brown (oil?) stains peppering the upper half of the sheet, especially at the left edge.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?
Date: 1650-54?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.886; inv. RF 4700; MS Inventaire, vol.20, p.268).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.692 (relates to Benesch 0532; records verso inscription); Paris, 1933, no.1266 (manner of Rembrandt; compares Benesch 0534, Benesch 0483-84 and Benesch 0487); Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.533, repr. fig.662/702 (c.1641-44; refutes Lugt, in Paris, 1933, stating that only the later additions are ‘weak’; notes the same hand tampered with Benesch 0484, Benesch 0811 and Benesch 0866; compares drawings mentioned by Lugt and Benesch 0532, and is another step towards the painting of the subject in London [see here under Benesch 0531, Fig.a]); part of the group Benesch 0531-34); Rosenberg, 1959, p.111 (not Rembrandt); Sumowski, Drawings, 3, 1980, under no.765x (not Rembrandt); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.365-66 (not related to the painting but may have originated in Rembrandt’s workshop); Exh. London, 2006.I, under no.10 (not Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Léon Bonnat (L.1714; with his album number, top right: “73”), by whom presented to the present repository, 1919.
[1] I am most grateful to Olivia Savatier Sjöholm at the Louvre for her help with the photographs of both sides of the drawing, as well as details of the inscription (e-mail 23 March 2021).
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0534
Subject: Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (John, 8, 2-11)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with some additions in (reed) pen and grey-brown ink.
244 x 180.
COMMENTS: The drawing is usually discussed alongside Benesch 0531-33 (qqv) and like them, seems to derive from Rembrandt’s 1644 painting of the same subject (repr. under Benesch 0531, Fig.a), for which they were thought to be progressive preparatory studies. But Dittrich correctly assigned the drawing to the following decade, among other things pointing out the compositional analogies – especially in the central positioning of Christ in a crowd – with Rembrandt’s two etchings of Christ Preaching, the Hundred Guilder Print of c.1648 and the so-called La Petite Tombe of c.1652.[1] To this one might add that the hatching in the upper background, the line defining the lower end of the arch and several touches elsewhere, almost all in a greyer ink, were made with broad strokes of the reed pen, a rarely-sighted implement before the 1650s.
In fact, the style relates rather closely to the drawings in the “Carel Fabritius” group (on which see Benesch 500), with telling comparisons to be made with Benesch 0531, of the same subject, and perhaps especially Benesch 0487. All composition studies, the latter includes similar, rudimentary fine lines that underpin much bolder, confident and rapidly-sketched elaborations of the design. Although Rembrandt himself often worked up his drawings in a similar way, the energy and ‘handwriting’ here is distinct, more like a frothy and forward spumante then a refined and elegant champagne. Once the energetic bravado has been fully savoured, there is no length, no lingering, poetic sentiment.[2]
Although there are echoes of the handling of Benesch 0518, the more unbridled style here marks it out as probably a late work of around 1652-54, Fabritius’ very last years – on the assumption that he made it (see further n.2 below). As well as the Rembrandt etchings mentioned above, the artist presumably referred back to Benesch 0533 as a point of departure. The standing man on the left reflects that in Benesch 0531. A yet later drawing, Benesch 1047 of around 1660, has a few points of comparison in its composition, as does the painting of the subject by Gerbrand van Den Eeckhout, now in the Rijksmuseum.[3]
Condition: Good.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?
Date: 1652-54?
COLLECTION: D Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett (L.1647; inv.C 1511).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Franke, 1865, 7, p.207, no.26/2 (anonymous); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.216 (rapid sketch form early period [the subject not identified]); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, no.22; Benesch, 1935, p.35; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.534, repr. fig.663/703 (c.1641-44; developed from Benesch 0533; relates background to the 1644 painting [here repr. under Benesch 531, Fig.a]; style compared with Benesch 0518, Benesch 0533 and Benesch 0543); Rosenberg, 1959, pp.111-12 (not Rembrandt; relates to “Munich Forger”); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (Rembrandt?); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (school of Rembrandt, reminiscent of Bol); Scheidig, 1962, no.55; Broos, 1975-76, p.227, n.41 (compositional scheme of Benesch 1047 is closely related; Benesch should have dated them to the same period); Sumowski, Drawings, 3, 1980, under no.765x (not Rembrandt); Exh. Dresden 2004, no.91, repr. (1650s or later; derived from London painting; also to etchings, Hundred Guilder Print and Christ Preaching; compares Benesch 0483; suggests later than previously thought – could well be after 1655); Exh. London, 2006.I, under no.10 (not Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 2006, no.55, repr. (as Exh. Dresden, 2004). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Acquired before 1756 by the present repository.
[1] Respectively Bartsch 74; NH.239 and Bartsch 67; NH 298.
[2] The lack of profounder qualities features among the reasons for some residual doubt concerning the attribution to Fabritius, most of whose paintings usually seem closer to Rembrandt in this respect.
[3] See (accessed 24 March 2021).
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0535
Subject: A Seated Woman Weeping (?), profile to left, three-quarter length
Medium: Red chalk,[1] perhaps with some white heightening; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed upper right in red chalk – apparently the same chalk as the drawing: “R”; verso, on a label: “Young Woman Weeping / Rembrandt / circa 1644 / Sanguine / Sale Drouot Paris July 17 1924”
155 x 130.
COMMENTS: Those judging this drawing are faced with a number of quandaries – as to whether it represents, as hitherto suggested, a study for a Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, as to whether it is or isn’t by Rembrandt, and if not, to whom it should be attributed, and whether it should be dated early, alongside Rembrandt’s other studies in red chalk of the Leiden period, or in the 1640s.
The early date is partially supported by the style as well as the medium, and also by the apparent signature, which resembles that on Benesch 0037 (see Fig.a.). On close analysis, however, there are differences: the upright of the ‘R’ is overly short; the loop to the left is unusually narrow and the tight loop or turn in the centre continues into a line that initially rises – uncharacteristically – prior to making its final descent. While on the surface the initial might be genuine, these anomalies are sufficient to undermine our confidence in it. Yet it does seem to be in the same medium as the drawing – there is no differentiation of in the colour of the red chalk; and this colour, too, is just a little unusual, as can be seen by comparing Rembrandt’s other red chalk drawings of the Leiden period, mostly of around 1630-31 (see Fig.b).
The style comes close to the latter drawings in several respects, but some features seem out of place: first, the uniform degree of attention given to every part – the hands, the face and the drapery; while in the other drawings, Rembrandt provides a clear point of focus, usually on the face (which is usually more profoundly characterised). Secondly, the other studies include significant quantities of shading in the drapery; thirdly, there is always some indication of shadow behind the figure, to set it off from the background, while here we have none; and finally, the other drawings all have an immediate, instinctive understanding of the flow of the light from a specific direction, but Benesch 0535 seems almost confused in this respect: while the light streams generally from an angle above the viewer, there are passages of shading which militate against this direction and undermine its consistency, whether in the kerchief or parts of the skirt. So although we have a Leiden period-style of “signature”, the drawing seems different, and probably later, as Benesch surmised, placing it in the early 1640s.
Among the documentary drawings, the only truly comparable study of the later period is the Berlin sketch for Susannah of c.1647, Benesch 0590 (see Fig.c). Here the analogies are considerably closer, despite the use of black rather than red chalk (here minimised by reproducing both in black and white).[1] There is a generally similar, almost impressionistic approach, with the forms often generalised rather than made specific; in the drapery, where this is especially the case, the degree of shading as opposed to hatching is more comparable than with the earlier Leiden period studies; the use of emphatic lines to redefine the final outlines by the knees is perhaps especially similar (and in Benesch 0535 might be compared with Benesch 0277), and vied with for proximity of style in the detailing of the sleeve; and finally the firm if not exacting outlines of the hands in both drawings provide further, rather close connections.
These similarities seem somewhat weightier than the divergences, which can to some extent be explained by the differences between the softness of red chalk and the greater friability of black chalk; and for this reason, despite the inexplicable monogram, the drawing is here readmitted into Rembrandt’s oeuvre, albeit with one question mark. But like so many Rembrandt drawings, other problems remain, in this case mainly concerning the iconography: the woman is decked out in finery as she weeps, but rather than kneeling, she sits in a chair. The whole concept of her balance and posture is therefore wrong to have originated, as has been suggested many times, as a study of a woman throwing herself on Christ’s mercy as an accused adulteress, as shown in the painting of 1644 in the National Gallery in London (see the detail in Fig.d, top left; for the whole, see under Benesch 0531, Fig.a).[2] It also seems that she may be holding a letter in her nearer hand, in which case Bathsheba might enter the discussion, although she is commonly depicted in a state of undress – including by Rembrandt himself.[3] Also in favour of this last identification, there is a continuous line running from the kerchief behind her chin, and so she could well be holding a towel which descends from her head into her raised right hand; rather than weeping, she may be drying herself. Suffice to say that the iconography as first intended in the drawing is uncertain and unlikely to be for a Woman Taken in Adultery. The related upper posture may nonetheless have inspired the figure in the painting in London mentioned above, and also the oil-sketch in Detroit, which was referred to by Benesch (see Fig.d; Bredius 366; Wetering 197). Importantly, although the head in the London painting seems close, the drawing appears too large, too loose, too different and too freely done to be merely copied or derived from it by a pupil – another argument in favour of retaining the drawing under Rembrandt’s own name. But overall, some degree of doubt still seems appropriate.
Condition: Some brown spots, e.g. lower right; some small holes at the lower left; damp stain lower right; light struck and slightly browned; otherwise generally good; traces of gold from the old mat at the extreme edges.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt?
Date: 1644?
COLLECTION: CH [?] Private Collection.[4]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.535, repr. (c.1644; related to London painting of Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery of 1644 [see under Benesch 0531, Fig.a]; style compared with Benesch 0590, Benesch 0692, Benesch 0737, Benesch 0761 “and quite a series of other drawings by Rembrandt in black chalk, dating from the 1640’s”); London, 1961, under no.48; Exh. London, 1988, under no.9 (as Benesch, 1955/73); Exh. London, 2006, under no.10; Corpus, 5, 2011, p.366, repr. p.364, fig. 10 (attributed to Rembrandt; could have played a role in the development of the painting); Exh. London, 2006.I, p.1326 (Rembrandt); Binstock, 2009, p.320, under no.F.19 (likely by Fabritius); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Sale, Paris, Drouot, 17 December, 1924; private collection, Geneva; offered at sale, Zurich, Koller, Sep-Oct, 2006, but withdrawn before the sale.
[1] Benesch (1957) only knew the drawing from a monochrome photograph in the Witt Library (Courtauld Institute, London) which led him to describe it as drawn in black chalk, rather than red.
[2] The Louvre’s painting of 1654 (Bredius 521; Wetering 231). The earlier painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bredius 513 of 1643 (inv. 14.40.651) is not accepted by Wetering, except as a pupil’s variation, made with Rembrandt’s own intervention, on the Berlin painting of Susanna and the Elders, which was begun in around 1638 and completed in 1647 (see Corpus, 5, no.2; the latter painting is Bredius 516; Wetering 213).
[3] Another, very sketchy drawing of the subject, now in Munich (Benesch A42) drawing, which could possibly be by Rembrandt, already shows the figure as kneeling; she is never shown seated.
[4] The drawing was slated to be sold at Koller’s in Zurich on 22 September 2006 but was withdrawn. I am grateful to Koller’s for the photograph.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0536
Subject: Susanna and the Elders (Apocrypha, Susannah, I, 16-23)
Medium: Pen (and reed pen) and brown ink over graphite. Inscribed below in pen and brown ink by an early hand: “Rebrant” [sic]
197 x 170. Watermark: Flail in a chaplet.
COMMENTS: The exceptional breadth of handling and the use, apparently, of the reed pen mark the drawing as a candidate for inclusion in the “Carel Fabritius” group (see under Benesch 0500). In a general way there are links with the energy of Benesch 0534, which also has some comparable, widely spaced, diagonal hatching; but in addition, there is here an underdrawing in graphite which, in the foliage, has points of comparison with Benesch 0488 and Benesch 0502a. This is not easy to see as the graphite does not show up strongly; but in Fig.a, the details of these sections in graphite are illustrated (on the right) beside a detail of the background of Benesch 0488, and the uninterrupted graphite line that initially runs vertically from the lower edge of the upper detail (near the straight, near-diagonal stroke of the pen), which soon changes into a dancing series of scrolls, replicates the style of the foliage in Benesch 0488. Similar characteristics are found elsewhere in the “Fabritius” group, not least on the right of Benesch 0497, in the lower right and upper left corners of Benesch 502a, and in the tree on the right of Benesch 0523. For the figures, there are links with the similarly thick outlines in Benesch 0531. The stylistic links with Benesch 0483 make an attribution of the latter to the Fabritius group a possibility, although despite being in the same collection, they arrived there from different routes.
The artist was inspired by Rembrandt’s painting, made between c.1637 and 1647, now in Berlin (Bredius 516; Wetering 213). Indeed, a drawn copy of this painting, probably made in the early 1640s (Fig.b; Wetering, p.253, dates it to around 1643), and which preserves a version of the painting before it was completed, preserves the original composition in which the elder nearest to Susanna attempts to grab her breast. This drawn copy, though more carefully executed than most preparatory sketches, has the same, looping hallmarks in the foliage as we find in Benesch 0488, Benesch 0513 and Benesch 0523 (see the details in the lower centre of Fig.b). Together with the hint provided by the much heavier outlining of the foliage at the top centre, above Susannah, the copy could – very tentatively speaking – possibly be by the artist of the “Carel Fabritius” group. If by Fabritius (1622-1654), the copy would have been made when he was a young apprentice in Rembrandt’s studio, and may have remained available to him at a significantly later period – given the bold penwork of Benesch 0536, a date c.1650-54 is cautiously suggested for the latter here.
Condition: Generally good; cut at top corners and apparently trimmed on all sides; some minor spots and stains, mostly upper left and lower right.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?
Date: 1650-54??
COLLECTION: D Dresden, Kupferstich-Kabinett (inv.C 1912-5).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Burchard, 1912, pp.173-75 (compares Benesch 0763; relates to Berlin painting [here repr. under Benesch 0157] recorded in drawing in Budapest [Sumowski 823x as B. Fabritius]; lighter background by another hand); Kauffmann, 1918, p.45 (not Rembrandt); Kauffmann, 1924, pp.72ff. (Budapest drawing relationship secures for Rembrandt); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1925, p.12, no.11; Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.260, repr. (not Rembrandt); Benesch, 1935, p.38; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.536, repr. fig.666/536 (c.1641-44; compares Benesch 0483, Benesch 0488, Benesch 533-34); Rosenberg, 1959, p.111 (later imitation); Sumowski, 1961, p.11; Exh. Dresden 1969, p.14, no.22; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.14 (forgery); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (pupil); Scheidig, 1962, p.46, repr. fig.53; Exh Dresden, 2004, no.87, repr. (pupil or imitator); Exh. Paris, 2006, no.51, repr. (as Exh. Dresden, 2004); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.333, under no.1, repr. fig.9 (pupil or belonging to the Munich and Dresden group of Rembrandt imitations – partly following Exh. Dresden, 2004); Exh. Berlin, 2015, pp.45-46, repr. fig.7, and p.94 (school work, c.1638-39; closely follows the gesticulating Elder from first version of the Berlin painting but also suggests knowledge of the revised, second version – perhaps made at same time as some of the changes); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: W. von Seidlitz, from whom acquired by the present repository in 1912.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0536A
Subject: Abraham and Isaac on the Way to the Sacrifice (Genesis, 2, 2-18)
Medium: Pen and brown ink.
108 x 186.
COMMENTS: The drawing has been rightly compared in style with Benesch 0524A (qv),[1] which is now tentatively attributed to Ferdinand Bol and seems certainly to be by the same hand. The slightly looser handling here suggests it may be somewhat later.
The iconography, rare before the seventeenth century, is unusual in focusing on Abraham and his son while they are “en route” to Mount Moriah (now the Temple Mount), the scene of the aborted sacrifice – itself a common subject, although the final climb was often included in the background. There are, however, some prints, including a woodcut by Lucas van Leyden.[2]
Benesch (1964) waxed lyrical about the scene: “With few means much is expressed: the heavy gait of Isaac, laden with the bundle of wood and a coal-box, the Abraham speaking to his servants, asking them to wait with the mule, [and] the mountain landscape with the winding path leading upwards”.[3] The narrative is indeed lucidly related and sufficiently original to prompt the thought that the drawing might have been inspired by a lost prototype by Rembrandt himself.
Condition: Somewhat washed out and faded, with some spotting, especially towards the upper left.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645-50?
COLLECTION: R Moscow, State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (inv. MPC GZ-493).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 1964, pp.124-25, repr. fig.21, reprinted Benesch, 1970, p.257, repr. fig.227 (1643; compares Benesch 0524A); Benesch, 1973, no.536A, repr. fig.706 (c.1643 [unusually, with no further commentary]); Exh. Moscow, 1973-74, no.348; Danilova and Levitin, 1993, p.286, no.1548, repr. in colour; Sadkov, 1998, p.163 (Rembrandt?); Moscow, 2001, p.245, no.341, repr. (as Sadkov, 1998); Moscow, 2010, no.322, repr. in colour (not Rembrandt?); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Ilya Semenovich Ostroukhov (1858-1929); Ilya Samoylovich Silberstein (1905-1988), by whom presented to the present repository in 1988.
[1] Benesch, 1964, p.125.
[2] The Lucas is Bartsch 3; NH 187. Other 16-17th-century prints of the subject include woodcuts by Ugo da Carpi (reputedly after Titian of 1514-15 (for an impression in the British Museum, see:, Erhard Schön, 1518 (Hollstein 5), and Hans Schäuffelein, c.1530 (Bartsch 3); an engraving by Georg Pencz, c.1543 (Bartsch 4; Hollstein 4), an etching by Hieronymus Cock, 1558 (Hollstein 8, Riggs 38), an engraving by Étienne Delaune, 1561 (Robert-Dumesnil, IX, 26, 3) and an engraving with the two diminutive figures in a landscape designed in characteristic mode by Hans Bol and engraved by Philips Galle (Hollstein 163/167; NH R17-2); another after Paul Bril by Willem van Nieulandt II, shows the two figures crossing a footbridge (Hollstein 101-1), and there is an etching by Moses van Uyttenbroeck, c.1620 (Bartsch 52; Hollstein 4).
[3] “Mit wenig Mitteln ist viel ausgesagt: der schwere Schritt des mit Holzbündel und Kohlenbecken beladenen Isaak, das Sprechen Abrahams zu den Dienern, die er mit dem Maultier warten heißt, die Gebirgslandschaft mit dem in Kurven aufwärtsführnden Weg” (Benesch, 1964, p.125).
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0537
Subject: Christ Appearing to the Magdalene after the Resurrection (John, 20, 11-18)
Verso: see Inscriptions
Medium: Pen (and some reed pen, upper right) and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso, upper left, in graphite: “Ex Coll. van Huls 1736 n. 921” and centre: “HdGr 1275” (the number in Hofstede de Groot, 1906); lower left, in pen and brown ink: “421”; lower right, in graphite: “31020 / sgR /LJR” and below that, also in graphite: “msi.-“
154 x 191. Watermark: none.
COMMENTS: By comparing Benesch 0538 of the same subject, in 1985 Schatborn (see Literature below) convincingly argued that the two drawings, which Benesch illustrated side-by-side in his catalogue raisonné (1955/73), were not by the same artist. Schatborn argued, in the case of Benesch 0537, that the lack of expressive and narrative force and compositional coherence, combined with the slack penmanship, the less than convincing poses and the unsatisfactory interactions between the figures, mark it out as the work of Rembrandt’s pupil, Ferdinand Bol.
In the case of the present drawing these arguments are fully accepted, although it must count among Bol’s most fluent, balanced and sustained performances as a draughtsman. Some residual doubts remain – here expressed by a question-mark – as a juxtaposition with other drawings that are always attributed to Bol (and are of the same type, designs for a historical or composition) always seems less than wholly satisfactory (see Fig.a, comparing Bol’s drawing of Hagar and the Angel on the Road to Shur, now in the Rijksmuseum): while there are points of contact in the shading, even in the psychology, comparing details such as the hands, or the zigzag foliage to the right of Hagar with the trees in Benesch 0537, or the kneeling Magdalene with the kneeling Hagar, does throw up clear differences in the outlining and modelling that are not straightforwardly bridgeable – even if a disparity of dates is allowed for. Such anomalies are consistently reflected in all the known documentary drawings by Bol and remain a stumbling-block in the study of his drawings.
In the present drawing, seemingly characteristic of Bol, however, are the somewhat lazy lines, like those that meander diagonally through the design, the artist thereby creating a rigid yet unconvincing wall to divide the composition. The zigzag above the Magdalene and the small loop to the left of the wall are especially unsatisfactory, reading more calligraphically than descriptively, and detached from the forms they attempt to describe. While praise is often granted to artists who keep a line continuous, in this case the result flattens the background. Equally, in the trees the loops in the foliage and the rather even pressure on the pen throughout have a similar effect: they reveal great competence but betoken a somewhat limited investigative intelligence – and may be compared with the trees in Benesch 0524 and Benesch 0536A. The narrative, with Christ’s relaxed, indeed casual pose contrasted awkwardly with the hand-wringing Magdalene, misconceives the story, as though Christ were unaware of the importance of the moment when he first revealed himself as alive following his burial and resurrection.
A different note entirely is struck by the series of slanting parallel strokes above Christ, shadowing the entrance to the tomb: they seem to have been added with the reed pen. On close inspection, they extend already existing but much shorter lines made with the quill that may originally have been intended to describe Christ’s radiance (see the detail illustration). If these lines, as I believe possible, were corrections made by Rembrandt soon after the drawing’s creation, then the drawing may date from around 1650 or later, when the reed pen became more prevalent in Rembrandt’s work. Compare this passage to the shading in parts of Benesch 0887, Benesch 0899, Benesch 0906 and Benesch 0948. This could have significant repercussions for the study of the chronology of Bol’s drawings.[1]
Both Benesch 0537 and Benesch 0538 took their cue from Rembrandt’s painting of the subject of 1638 in the British royal collection (Fig.b), although they probably date from the next decade, c.1640-45. Indeed, a painted copy of Rembrandt’s work in the Museum het Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam is now usually attributed to Ferdinand Bol.[2] The background view of Jerusalem in Bol’s drawing also depends on the Rembrandt painting and is more characteristic of the pupil than his teacher in its lack of economy. For the Magdalene, the artist borrowed the pose of Rembrandt’s celebrated figure of Judas (see Fig.c): though now sunk back more on her haunches, her expression, hands and the alignment of her head are closely comparable, especially as the Judas is preserved in the print after this figure by Jan van Vliet of 1634 (see to the right of Fig.c).
Condition: Water damage down the left-hand side (surprisingly, this is described in Amsterdam, 2000/2018, as a characteristic feature of Bol’s style; perhaps they were thinking of Benesch 0524, another water-damaged drawing); there is an accidental pen mark, probably made by the artist, to the left of the Magdalene.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? Retouched by Rembrandt?
Date: 1643-50?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (L. 2228; presented by Hofstede de Groot, inv. RP-T-1930-29).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Eisenmann, 1890, pl.54; Lippmann, II, 99; Neumann, 1905 (ed.princ. 1902), I, p.204; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1275 (c.1638; sketch for London picture [here Fig.a]); Baldwin Brown, 1907, p.137; Saxl, 1908, p.342; Schmidt-Degener, 1908, p.106; Hofstede de Groot, 1909, no.12; London, 1915, p.48, under no.135; Hirschmann, 1917, p.11; Seidlitz, 1917, p.253; Eisler, 1918, p.104; Stockholm, 1920, p.5; Bredt, 1921, 2, p.107; Benesch, 1922.1, p.36 (not by Rembrandt); Weisbach, 1926, pp.214-15, repr. fig.52; Van Dyke, 1927, p.77, repr. fig. 56, plate 14 (Flinck); Paris, 1933, p.15, under no.1139; Lugt, 1934, p.16 [as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.507, repr. (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Benesch, 1935, p.35; Amsterdam, 1942, no.45, repr. fig. 30 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Von Alten, 1947, pp.19 and 155, repr. fig. 27; Rotermund, 1952, p.103; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.537, repr. (c.1643; for style compares Benesch 0541 and Benesch 0686; rejects connection with 1638 painting [here Fig.a]); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.76 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Müller-Hofstede, 1956, p.38; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.65; Rosenberg, 1959, p. 113 (later than the painting: “seems to go beyond the painting in its broader composition and the relaxation of the Baroque features”); Roger Marx, 1960, p.192; Exh. Brussels, 1961, no.52; Sumowski, 1961, p. 11 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, pp.51-52 (compares Benesch 0520 for date; otherwise as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Rotermund, 1963, no.238, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.114; Slive, 1965, 2, no. 331, repr.; Gerson, 1968, p.492, under no.82; Haak, 1968, p.154; Bredius-Gerson, 1969, p.607, under no.559; Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.109; Exh. Milan, 1970, no.11; Haak, 1974, no. 24, repr.; Amsterdam, 1981, under no.12, n. 6; White, 1982, pp.106-107, under no.161; Hoekstra, 3, 1983, p.60; Haak, 1984, p.282; Amsterdam 1985, under no.22 (Bol); Schatborn, 1985, pp.94-95 (Bol); Robinson, 1988, p.584 (Bol); Corpus, 3, 1989, p.263, under no. A124 (Bol); Exh. London, 1992, under no.41 (Bol); Exh. Amsterdam, 2006, p.91 (Bol); Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.12.2, repr. (Bol, c.1640; compares Hamburg drawing by Bol of Joseph telling dreams, inv.22412, Sumowski 101, and Holy Family in Darmstadt, Inv.AE592, Sumowski 195*; background borrowed from 1638 painting [here Fig.a] as well as Benesch 538); Exh. Paris-Philadelphia-Detroit, 2011-12, pp.9-11, repr. fig. 1.3 (attributed to Bol); Exh. Amsterdam, 2014, no.1 (Bol, c.1640, as also Benesch 0438 by Rembrandt); Exh. Amsterdam, 2017-18, p.189, fig. 254; Amsterdam, 2018 [B. van Sighem, 2000/I. van Tuinen, 2018], (Bol -see [accessed 8 April 2021]); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Samuel van Huls?; perhaps his sale, The Hague, Swart, 14 May 1736 and following days, Album Q, no. 921, as Rembrandt (‘Portefeuille Q. Contenant des Desseins de Rembrandt. Tobie, & 2 autres’), bt with nos.922-924, fl. 1:18 (according to verso inscription – see above); Dr Friedrich Heimsoeth; his sale, Frankfurt, Prestel, 5 May, 1879 and following days, lot 147, DM 145; Edward Habich (L. 862, verso [effaced]); his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 27 April, 1899 and following days, lot 538, bt F.A.. van Scheltema, DM 170 from whom acquired (via Scheltema’s partner, Muller) by Dr Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, by whom presented to the present repository, 1906, with usufruct until transferred in 1930.
[1] Bol’s later drawings, for example those he made for the Amsterdam Town Hall, are still redolent of Rembrandt’s drawings of the 1630s-40s, and the compiler has long believed that many of Bol’s drawings are still dated too early because of their Rembrandtesque quality (see, for example, in London, 2010, Bol nos.4-5).
[2] Inv. NK 1648 (on loan from the Instituut Collectie Nederland).
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0538
Subject: Christ Appearing to the Magdalene after the Resurrection (John, 20, 11-18)
Verso: see Inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink, with some white heightening; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink; the contours indented for transfer (by Matthijs Pool, after 1700 – see further below). Inscribed verso, in graphite, lower left (with the sheet inverted): “3132” [?] and lower centre, by C.-A. Mariette, in pen and brown ink: “Claude Aug Mariette 1703” [or 1700]; illegible numbers in graphite.
154 x 146. Watermark: none; chain lines: 20/23h.
COMMENTS: See the note to Benesch 0537, another version of the same subject and perhaps made around the same time. Again, Rembrandt’s painting in the British royal collection must have been the inspiration (Fig.a), with its placement of the tomb to the right, the division with the landscape cutting across the composition from the upper centre and down towards the left, and the view of Jerusalem beyond. But the more dynamic poses of Christ and the Magdalene in the oil become relatively becalmed in the drawing, with the tall and straight Christ majestically dominating the centre of the design in a strict profile to the viewer, while the Magdalene is shown at his feet in an emotive, anguished but self-contained posture. The balance and symmetry of the drawn composition is remarkable.
The superior quality of Benesch 0538 compared with Benesch 0537 is not in question. Whether in the definition of form or the characterisation of the figures, with the serene, perfectly perpendicular Christ making a simple step forwards, contrasted with twisting confusion of the Magdalene, or in the narrative connections between Christ’s outstretched hand, the cross beyond, with the Magdalene placed directly below, Benesch 0538 is the more outstanding drawing.[1] Most previous writers have felt that its overall high quality provides sufficient reason to assert its attribution to Rembrandt, but as the compiler has discussed elsewhere, any juxtaposition of the drawing with others that are certainly by Rembrandt himself throws up as many anomalies as there are similarities.[2]
Let us first attempt to describe the drawing’s most notable stylistic features:
1. the generally broad lines throughout the sheet, though not without variety, especially in the fine hatching (the finest immediately above Christ’s hat) and in the landscape, where some extremely thin lines on the horizon stand in sharp contrast with broad lines below; but as a rule, the broader lines proliferate considerably more, and they generally exhibit an even pressure on the pen (somewhat akin to an etching);[3]
2. although some finer vertical shading appears in the figures and at the steps, lower right, at the upper right there is a bold, though controlled, series of verticals, almost suggesting a curtain across the upper part of the entrance to the tomb;
3. some lively lines above and especially to the upper left of Christ’s hat are almost spattered onto the page with great freedom;
4. in the figures (see the detail illustrated), the approach is generally disciplined, and in the Christ, especially, the figure takes on proto-geometric forms, not least in his skirts (sloping lines with elongated triangles), and his outlines are precise and careful throughout, from top to toe; the hat, face, hand and feet have almost solid, unbroken outlines (see the detail of these elements), and are profiled with an even touch, while many strands of Christ’s hair are described by long, elongated individual and uninterrupted loops – a few as suggestive of Medusa’s snakes as of ringlets; the Magdalene, who is also realised with an even attention from top down, has her individual fingers delineated solidly in the same manner, while the cross in the middle-distance is again described in a series of disciplined, unbroken and even strokes (also in the same detail illustration);
5. in Christ’s nearer sleeve, and to a lesser degree at his midriff, there is a cascade of loops and curls, a stylistic trait that becomes a more significant feature in the description of the Magdalene, especially in the curves descending from beneath her nearer upper arm;
6. returning to the landscape (see the detail), there is a somewhat disjointed optical effect: fine lines underlie much of the middle distance and the horizon, but heavier lines interrupt the illusion, both above and to the left of the cross; they match in weight the foliage behind the Magdalen and at the lower right, flattening the overall effect as a result; the foliage to the left includes a number of solidly drawn spirals of the pen;
7. the shading is not always consistent: the shadow behind Christ’s feet suggests he is facing the sun, but the near total lack of shadow cast by the Magdalene, whether in her drapery or in front of her or onto Christ’s lower robe, is unexpected;
8. the almost dancing lines describing the foliage in the lower right corner are again rendered with an even touch – the effect is as calligraphic as it is descriptive.
9. in many passages of shading, though not all, the lines are not straight parallels but gently curved: in the lower left corner behind the Magdalene; below her elbow; between her and Christ’s raised arm; in the lower part of Christ’s robe, and at the extreme lower right, beneath the foliage.
Overall, the confident liquidity of the drawing, despite the connection with the 1638 painting, has led to its being uniformly dated to the early or mid-1640s;[4] and it is therefore on the basis of comparisons with Rembrandt’s composition drawings of the same type, period and degree of finish that Benesch 0538 needs to be compared – and this is where our primary difficulties arise. Such drawings include the documentary Two Men in Discussion, in the Courtauld Institute (Benesch 0500a), as well as the Jacob and Esau, in the British Museum (Benesch 0606), but there is little, if anything, to connect them with Benesch 0538, or to the stylistic traits we have enumerated above (see Fig.b). The figures in the Courtauld drawing are outlined with considerably more sensitivity to the fall of light, with a variety of touch, and they never partake of the flat geometry inherent in the Christ, or the loops and curls of the Magdalene; the shading within and below them convincingly suggests depth, allowing the forms to ‘breathe’ in the space, while in Benesch 0538 they appear less realised in three dimensions, almost like cardboard cut-outs; and the right-hand figure begins to dissolve into a shorthand rendition, a characteristic of many Rembrandt drawings. Similarly, with Benesch 0606, the evenness of the touch throughout (see no.1 above), the strong sense of geometry (no.4 above), the loops and curls (no.5) and the solid outlining of details such as hands of hats (or turbans) are notable for their absence. The two comparative drawings resemble each other far more than they resemble Benesch 0538.
Similar juxtapositions with slightly later drawings, such as Benesch 0184 (a docuemntary study) and Benesch 0189 of around the mid-1640s, relate the same story (see Fig.c), both made at around the time of the Hundred Guilder Print. The connections with Rembrandt seem to slip away, and for all its Rembrandtesque traits, the style of Benesch 0538 never approaches Rembrandt’s drawings sufficiently closely to secure it for his name without hesitation. Wherever we turn, from the figures to the landscape on the left or towards the vertical shading or the foliage on the right, we are given pause for thought.
Just one drawing might give succour to those who would persist in the attribution to Rembrandt – and does give cause to retain it, tentatively, in the “attributed to Rembrandt” section of the catalogue: the Rijksmuseum’s documentary study of a Sick Woman related to the Hundred Guilder Print, the Rijksmuseum’s documentary study for the Sick Woman (Fig.d; Benesch 0183), which provides two straws of support: the fingers of the sketch on the left are described separately and resemble those of the Magdalene; and in the centre of the sketch on the right of the Rijksmuseum’s drawing, there is a hint of the curls in the drapery that we have noticed (no.5 above). But in general, the flatter, more calligraphic effect of the figure in Benesch 0538, with its curved shading and the stronger lines below the figure remain troubling departures, as do the many other emphatic touches that don’t read clearly, whether concerning the optical placement in perspective in the landscape or in some individual forms – what part of the headdress, for example, is described by the heavy, sleeve-like tail that descends almost vertically from her forehead? Her gesture, with her raised and cupped hands, and strong contrapposto, also seems more redolent of Rembrandt’s work in the early or mid-1630s – for example, Rembrandt’s early figure of Judas repenting comes to mind (see under Benesch 0537, Fig.c) – rather than a decade later, when such displays of emotion had become calmer in his work.
Some will of course ask whether there is an alternative attribution? The correct answer is none that can be satisfactorily substantiated. But a few suggestive pointers raise the possibility that the drawing could be an early work by Carel Fabritius. This is tentative of course – but the loops and curls, the cupped hands and strong contrapposto are all typical traits found in Fabritius’ early paintings of the 1640s. This may be seen especially clearly in his Hera, now in Moscow, his Raising of Lazarus, in Warsaw, and his Mercury and Aglauros, in Boston (see Fig.e).[5] The figure of Hera compares closely with the Magdalene in the drama of her pose and the loops and curves of her clothing; the onlookers in the Raising of Lazarus also reflect the strong contrapposto of Rembrandt’s earlier years (see the figure at the lower right of the painting as well as those in the detail) and, in two cases that are visible in the detail, the clasped hands (à la Judas!), a feature that appears again in a third figure on the right. The scrolling of the drapery of Aglauros in the Boston painting (see also Fig.e) has obvious similarities to that of the Hera and the Magdalene. Compare also the crouching figure of Hagar with her hands clasped in Fabritius’s Hagar and the Angel, now in the Leiden Collection (illustrated under Benesch 0497A, Fig.a, and under Benesch 0518b, Fig.a).
These analogies are worth consideration and receive some support – though again, not fully persuasive – from stylistic characteristics of some of the drawings now belonging to the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500). We encounter a similarly strong contrapposto in a figure with clasped hands in Benesch 0505; the finer lines in the distance of the landscape background may be compared with the backdrops of Benesch 0488 (note also the spirals immediately behind the figure of St Philip), Benesch 0491, Benesch 0502a, Benesch 0505 and Benesch 0515 (two details of the landscape in Benesch 0538 are illustrated in the centre of Fig.f, juxtaposed with details from Benesch 0488, Benesch 0491, Benesch 0502a and Benesch 0515 – the latter again with spirals). Benesch 0488 and other drawings in the “Carel Fabritius” group also include similarly abstracted or calligraphic foreground vegetation in the lower corners (see Fig.g), while the curved shading we noticed in Benesch 0538 reappears in many of the drawings in the same group, including Benesch 0515. Finally, the solid outlines of the figures has been noted as a marked characteristic of drawings now attributed to Fabritius (see Benesch 0500)[6] and the strong contours and detailing of Christ’s hand is reflected in such drawings as Benesch 0551 (Fig.h).
These comparisons with drawings in the “Carel Fabritius” group are closer than the comparisons with Rembrandt. Just to reinforce that point, the reader might indulge one more, brief, side-by-side examination of the drawing with another Rembrandt drawing of the mid-1640s that has not been doubted, the Holy Family in the Carpenter’s Workshop, Benesch 0516 (Fig.i). Once more, even after “thinking away” the wash to compare only the style of the penmanship, one is hard put to discover any significant analogies.
To summarise, the attribution of Benesch 0538 to Rembrandt is difficult to justify on the basis of surviving drawings of unquestioned authenticity. While the current consensus continues to support this attribution unequivocally, the stylistic evidence falls far short of what is required to maintain it and to some degree points towards drawings included in the “Carel Fabritius” group. Out of respect for those who disagree with these conclusions, the drawing is retained under Rembrandt’s name, though with due caution.
Matthijs Pool (1676-1740) made an etched reproduction of the drawing – his stylus indentations of the outlines made for this purpose are clearly visible – in his Verscheide Gedachten in het koper gebracht naar de originelen Teekeningen en schetsen van Rembrandt, published in Amsterdam, probably some time after he settled there in 1700, although he may have seen the drawing in Paris in or before that year, when it was owned by C.A. Mariette (see Provenance).[7]
Condition: Good; some foxing; many outlines indented for transfer by Matthijs Pool (see further above).
Summary attribution: Rembrandt??/Carel Fabritius??
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (L. 2228; inv. RP-T-1961-80).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Paris, 1933, p.15, under no.1139 (c.1637-39); Lugt, 1934, pp.16-17, repr. pl.17; Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.508, repr. (c.1638); Kool, 1938, pp.94-95, repr. fig.70; Rotermund, 1952, p.103, n.1; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.538 (c.1643); Rosenberg, 1959, pp.112-13 (1638); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (1638); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (1638); Van Gelder, 1961, p.151, n.24; Van Regteren Altena, 1961, p.85, no.36, repr. fig.21 (1638); Rembrandt-Bijbel, 1962, repr. p.891, top; Haak, 1968, p.154, repr. fig.240 (1643?); Bredius-Gerson, 1969, under no.559 (1638); Exh. Milan, 1970, under no.11 (1638); Van Gelder, 1973, p.199; Haak, 1974, no.23 (c.1638); Bernhard, 1976, p.323 (c.1643); Schatborn, 1981, pp.13-14, repr. fig.3; Amsterdam, 1985, no.22, repr. (mid-1640s; influence of Lucas van Leyden and Dürer [see further under Comments above]); Schatborn, 1985, pp.94-95, repr. fig.2; Corpus, 3, 1989, p.263 (c.1643 [as Benesch, 1955]); Kreutzer, 2003, pp.168-69; Exh. Vienna, 2004, no.103, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 2006, pp.89-90, repr. fig. 87; Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no. 12.1, repr. (Rembrandt, c.1640, comparing Benesch 0500a and Benesch 0759); Royalton-Kisch, 2011, p.100, repr. fig.27 (attribution to Rembrandt uncertain if Benesch 500a et al. compared; perhaps C. Fabritius – cf. his early paintings); Exh. Paris-Philadelphia-Detroit, 2011, pp. 8-9, repr. fig.1.2; Exh. Amsterdam, 2014, pp.28-29, under no.1, repr. fig. 1a (c.1640; resembles Louvre Anslo, Benesch 0759, and Ben 0500a); Amsterdam, 2017 (online; P. Schatborn – see [accessed 15 April 2021]) (as Amsterdam, 1985); Schatborn, 2019, no.75, repr. (c.1641); The Present Catalogue 8 August 2021; Turner, 2020, pp.154-55 (by Rembrandt, ‘”pace” The Present Catalogue).
PROVENANCE: Claude-Augustin Mariette (with verso inscription, L. 1786); Étienne-Edmond Martin, Baron de Beurnonville; his sale, Paris, Drouot, 16 February, 1885 and following days, lot 205 (“Beau dessin à la plume”), sold for FF.135; Ernest Chausson (the composer – according to Exh. Bern, 1937, no.189); Isaäc de Bruijn and his wife, Johanna Geertruida de Bruijn-van der Leeuw, by 1937, by whom presented to the present repository in 1949, with usufruct until 1960, when transferred.
[1] As memorably argued by Schatborn, 1985 and Amsterdam, 1985.
[2] Royalton-Kisch, 2011, p.100, repr. fig.27.
[3] The indentations made by Pool to transfer his design onto a copper plate do not materially enhance this effect.
[4] See Literature above: Haak, 1974, still retained the date of around 1638, like the painting; but Schatborn has placed the drawing c.1640 (Exh. Los Angeles, 2009; Exh. Amsterdam, 2014) or c.1641 (Schatborn, 2019), though in Amsterdam, 1985 he placed in c.1645, repeated in his entry for Amsterdam, 2017 (online).
[5] Respectively Exh. The Hague, 2004, no.3 and Sumowski, Gemälde, 2, 1983, nos.601 and 626.
[6] See Schatborn, 2006.1, especially pp.131-32, 135-36.
[7] Schatborn, 2006, p.13 (reproducing Pool’s etching next to Benesch 0538, Figs.3-4).
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0539
Subject: The Woman of Samaria by the Well
Verso: see Inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso in graphite, top centre: “6” and across the centre: “Rembrandt”; lower right, in an eighteenth- or nineteenth-century hand, in pen and dark brown ink: “No.177”
148 x 102.
COMMENTS: As Benesch pointed out (see Literature), one would have expected to see Christ on the right – presuming that the woman is correctly identified as the Woman of Samaria, rather than the Old Testament Rachel or Rebecca. All these subjects were commonly depicted by Rembrandt and his pupils, but it is uncertain whether the drawing is really a fragment, as Benesch suggested.
For style, compare Benesch 0526 and Benesch 0553 (qqv), drawings that have characteristics usually associated with Ferdinand Bol. But like them, Benesch 0539 cannot be compared persuasively with drawings that may be assigned to Bol without question, so the same arguments on the attribution apply here.[1]
Condition: Good; the horizontal line bisecting the drawing presumably accidental; residues of old backings survive attached to the verso, including part of a printed page (not legible but perhaps c.1800).
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: GB Leeds, Leeds Art Gallery.
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.537, repr. fig.667/705 (c.1643; fragment lacking the figure of Christ; style compared with Benesch 0537 and Benesch 0542); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Richard Hancock; his sale, London, Christie’s, 17 February, 1930, lot 53: “The Woman of Samaria. Pen and ink – 4¾ by 3¼ in”, where purchased for the present ropository (as also Benesch 0264).
[1] Compare also such drawings – usually given to Bol – as Benesch 0165, which also do not compare closely with Benesch 0539.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0540
Subject: Mars and Venus Ensnared in Vulcan’s Net and Shown to the Gods
Verso: See Inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink on pale buff paper; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed verso in pen and brown ink: “2 : 4” [below the museum mark, L. 1036] and, lower right, in graphite: “/”
211 x 289 (including an approximately 2mm wide vertical strip added to the right).
COMMENTS: Though much doubted by writers from the 1860s until 1906, most critics now agree that the drawing is by Rembrandt and probably datable to the first half of the 1640s (see Literature below for the individual opinions expressed). Although the composition resembles significantly earlier works, such as Benesch 0089 of 1634, which may have led some commentators to date the drawing as early as the mid-1630s, the refined touch in so much of the drawing, but especially noticeable in the seated figure of Jupiter towards the right, as well as the more liquid lines, such as we find in Vulcan’s net and the tail of Juno’s peacock on the extreme right, are well matched on the one hand by Benesch 0541, in which the right leg of one of the brothers seated immediately to the right of the arch almost replicates those of Vulcan and Jupiter, with the abrupt narrowing of the lower leg below the knee (see Fig. a), and on the other by some of Rembrandt’s documentary studies for the Hundred Guilder Print of c.1647-48, including Benesch 0183, Benesch 0185 and Benesch 0388 (see Fig. b). Also comparable is the Satire on Art Criticism, probably of 1644 (Benesch A35a – see under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab), not least in the crouching figures, to the left of centre in Benesch 0540, to the right of centre in mirror image in Benesch A35a (see Fig.c). The latter drawing appears to be dated 1644 and this approximate date is suggested here for Benesch 0540. At all events, it seems likely to be later than the Two Men in Discussion of 1641 (Benesch 0500a) and before the documentary, signed drawing of the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736), which is usually placed c.1646.
The iconography has prompted comment both concerning its sources and the drawing’s purpose. The story of Mars and Venus Ensnared by Vulcan is related by both Homer (Odyssey, 7, 266-367) and Ovid (Metamorphoses, 4, 171-189): in brief, Vulcan trapped his wife, Venus – no novice at deceiving him – in a net while en flagrante with Mars. Vulcan, here standing towards the left and holding his prey in the net, displayed them to the Gods, who were unsurprised, and only Mercury remarked that he would like to exchange places with Mars, a comment that drew widespread laughter from the assembly. Jupiter, the father of Venus, remained unamused as Vulcan demanded the return of the treasure he had given him to secure her hand in marriage. Other identifiable characters are Cupid, with his quiver (above Vulcan), Hercules in the lower centre, with the lion-skin on his head, Jupiter on the right, with his eagle by his knees and as mentioned above, his wife, Juno with her peacock on the extreme right. Other gods present are likely to include Apollo, Bacchus, Mercury, Neptune and Vertumnus, and possibly Faunus with his pointed ears in the centre, but they cannot be clearly identified for lack of attributes.
Unusually, the artist convenes the gods on Olympus rather than in the bedchamber to which Vulcan summoned them, almost as if Vulcan had dragged Mars and Venus up the mountain. Also uncanonical is the inclusion of goddesses, as Homer relates that they all withdrew for shame; yet the figure standing behind Juno on the right is clearly female and could be intended for one of a number of candidates, perhaps either Ceres, Diana, Flora, Minerva or Pomona.[1] Overall the composition clearly reflects knowledge of least one of the engravings after Raphael’s fresco of the Council of the Gods (with Venus and Cupid pleading their case before Jupiter and other Gods) in the Farnesina (Fig.d), in which the seated Jupiter is similarly situated among a group of deities (on Raphael’s influence on Rembrandt, see especially under Benesch 0348). This Rembrandt would have known from prints, such as the engravings attributed to Caraglio and especially that given to the Master of the Die, which was based on a rehash of the design by Michiel Coxcie (centre left in Fig.d), which like the figures on the left of the drawing reduces the size of a pair of Gods on the extreme left (Venus and Mercury). (Also illustrated in Fig.d is a variant made by François Langlois, il Ciartres, probably in c.1640, which may also have been known to Rembrandt.) The influence of Pieter Lastman has also been detected, in particular the arrangement of the figures in his painting of the Judgment of Midas, perhaps of c.1616, now in a private collection (Fig.e).[2]
As for the purpose of the drawing, it has been proposed that it is a preparatory study for one of the paintings of subjects from Ovid that Rembrandt, according to Baldinucci, painted in oil on the walls of an Amsterdam house belonging to a “merchant of the magistrate”.[3] More speculatively still, the house has been identified as one described by Philips von Zesen in 1645,[4] and the pictures themselves as wall-hangings, perhaps executed on gilt Spanish leather.[5]
Condition: Good; some brown spots; an added vertical strip of c.2-3 mm, right.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1641-44?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum (Fodor Bequest; L.1036; inv. TA 10283).[6]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amsterdam, 1863, p.37, no.167; Gram, 1863, p.340; Vosmaer, 1868, p.510 (doubtful); Gower, 1875, p.126; Vosmaer, 1877, p.594 (doubtful); Dutuit, 1885, p.92 (doubtful); Michel, 1893, p.591; Kleinmann, 3, 17; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1219; Lippmann, 3, no.82; Valentiner, 1906.I, p.125; Baldwin Brown, 1907, p.138 (doubtful); Kruse, 1907, pp.45-46, repr. fig.21; Saxl, 1908, p.348, no.82 (c.1635; influence of Lastman); Wurzbach, 1910, p.415; Bredt, 1918, pp.46-47; Kauffmann, 1920, p.65, n.2 and p.78, n.5; Baudissin, 1925, pp.162-64, repr. fig.1; Weisbach, 1926, pp.230-31, repr. fig.58; Van Dyke, 1927, p.145; Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.568, repr. (c.1636); Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.51; Benesch, 1935, p.36 (1643); Benesch, 1935.I, p.264; Henkel, 1940, p.294; Henkel, 1943, p.21, no.46 (1636); Scholte, 1947, pp.78-80, repr.; Exh. Basel, 1948, no.13; Hamann, 1948, pp.227-27, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1951, no.4 (c.1636); Exh. Haarlem, 1951, p.23, no.155 (1636-38); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.540, repr. fig.670/709 (c.1643; compares Benesch 0686 of 1643, Benesch 0538 and Benesch 0541-42); Exh. Cologne-Bremen, 1955, no.66; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1956, pp.76-77, no. 81 (compares Benesch 0529-30); Pigler, 2, 1956, p.160; Exh. Warsaw, 1956, p.31, no.19; Exh. Munich, 1957, p.13, no.14 (agrees with Haverkamp-Begemann, 1956); Recklinghausen, 1959, no.257; Exh. Jerusalem, 1960, p.15, no.64; Michalkowa, 1960, pp.78-79, repr. fig.52; Exh. Budapest, 1962, p.17, no.64, repr. fig.7; Slive, 2, 1965, no.418; Held, 1967-69, p.98. n.44; Gerson, 1969, p.477, repr.; Held, 1972, p.33; Held, 1973, p.60; Pigler, 2, 1974, p.170; Turin, 1974, p.63; Haak, 1976, no.39; Amsterdam, 1981, no.3, repr. (c.1635; iconography, noting other mythological subjects of the 1630s-40s, with link to Baldinucci [see Comments above], speculating that he was referring to the house of Philips von Zesen; influence of prints after Raphael; compares for style Benesch 0527 and Benesch 0528a); Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997–8, no.78, repr.; Liedtke, 1998, p.314, repr. fig.X; Roscam Abbing, 1999, p.57, repr. fig.8 (1635-43; as Amsterdam, 1981, believes that the drawing is a study for one of the wall-paintings mentioned by Baldinucci [on which see Comments above]; suggests these were painted on Spanish leather; areas left white or hatched in the drawings would have been unpainted areas of the leather); Seiffert, 2005, pp.122-23 (composition relates to Lastman’s Judgment of Midas, sold New York, Christie’s, 24 January, 2003, lot 11 [Seiffert no.A6]); Slive, 2009, p.184, repr. fig.14.7 (c.1635); Seifert, 2011, p.133, repr. fig.122 (as Seiffert, 2005); Schatborn, 2019, no.73, repr. (c.1641); Golahny, 2020, p.73 and n.3 (mixture of invention and direct inspiration – several Italian prints suggested motifs found in the drawing [as Amsterdam, 1981]).
PROVENANCE: Willem Baartz sale, Rotterdam, Lamme, 6-8th June, 1860, Kbk G no.137, bt Lamme, f.50; C.J. Fodor, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1860.
[1] The seated figure immediately to Jupiter’s right and covering its face might be a female displaying a sense of shame – or is it a god stifling laughter? Most previous artists focussed on the moment of entrapment, and only rarely showed any of the other gods at the same time, and if so, usually entering or approaching the bedchamber, or visible beyond – see, for example, the woodcut by Virgil Solis (illustration to an edition of Ovid, Metamorphoses, Frankfurt, 1563/1569; Hollstein, 2297/1775), painted versions by Maerten van Heemskerck (c.1645; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. GG_6395), Frans Floris (1547; Berlin, destroyed in 1945; Van de Velde, 1975, no. 2, repr.); several paintings by Joachim van Wttewael (see Lowenthal, 1995, and the painting sold in London, Christie’s, 3 July, 2012, lot 8), Hendrick van Balen (private collection; sold London, Sotheby’s, 26 April, 2001, lot 14), and engravings by Crispin van de Passe after Maerten de Vos (Hollstein 852/1570) and Hendrick Goltzius (Bartsch 139; NH 150 and 581) a preparatory drawing for the former in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Reznicek 105, inv.84.GG.810.1).
[2] Saxl, 1908, suggested Lastman’s influence and the idea was developed by Sieffert, 2005 and 2011, with reference to this particular painting (see Literature above).
[3] By Broos, in Amsterdam, 1981 (see Literature): “In casa un Mercante del Magistrato condusse molte opere a olio sopra muro, rappresentanti favole di Ovidio” (Baldinucci, 6, 1728 [ed. princ.], p.476).
[4] Henkel, 1943, citing the support of J.H. Scholten. Broos, loc. cit., points out that Von Zesen describes the paintings in the said house as being roundels, and the horizontal format of the drawing negates the connection.
[5] Roscam Abbing, 1999 (see Literature); there does not appear to be any documentation of Rembrandt making such paintings (as noted in RemDoc, the document at document/remdoc/e14063 [accessed 23 May 2021]).
[6] Formerly referred to as “cat. 167”, following Amsterdam, 1863.
First posted 8 August 2021.

Benesch 0541
Subject:  Jacob and his Sons (Genesis, 43, 8-9 or Genesis, 45, 26)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.; the seated man to the left on an added piece of paper (which has been backed). Inscribed verso, centre, in graphite: “7”; lower centre, in graphite: “522”
176 x 230. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: not visible.
COMMENTS: The Old Testament story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, preoccupied Rembrandt and his pupils frequently in the 1630s and 1640s. In Benesch 0541, Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, is not himself present.[1]
In this, one of Rembrandt’s more ambitious biblical illustrations, the patriarch, Jacob, is seated in the centre, with the young Benjamin holding a cup to his left. The scene probably represents the moment when Jacob’s sons, with Judah as spokesman, request from their father that Benjamin be permitted to accompany them to Egypt (in fact before the cup that Benjamin holds was planted by Joseph in his baggage). Alternatively, it may show the time when, after they returned to Canaan (again without the cup), the brothers relate that Joseph is alive and has been appointed Viceroy of Egypt.[2]  In either case Benjamin’s cup is merely emblematic. Another and apparently contemporaneous version of the subject by Rembrandt is in the Louvre (Benesch 0542 – see also under Benesch 0542, Fig.a), which shows 10 brothers (including Benjamin) and one sister, while the present drawing depicts just nine, one of whom, on the extreme right, could be a sister.[3] Both drawings are discussed together here. Not counting Joseph, there were 12 siblings altogether, one of whom was female, so they were never all present in either drawing.
Of the two compositions, Benesch 0541 is the more complete, with the figures all fully formed and characterised, while the Louvre drawing focusses on the central group and leaves the peripheral figures in a sketchy state. Given that the figures are all clarified and their characterisations more fully worked up in Benesch 0541, Benesch 0542 may be the earlier rough draft, although it has been pointed out that the overall design and the interrelationships in the figural groupings seem more harmonious in the Louvre drawing.[4] The scene is viewed from slightly different angles (the Louvre’s from further to the left), which might suggest that the figures were acting out the scene in the studio as a ‘kamerspel’ or chamber play (on which see under Benesch 0478). Indeed, were it not for the close proximity of style in the central figures in both drawings, one might be tempted to assert that only one of them, Benesch 0541, was by Rembrandt, and the other by a pupil sitting next to him. In Benesch 0541, the seated figure to the left is drawn on a separate piece of paper and stuck on, but this does not necessarily suggest that it is the earlier of the two versions.
The style is close to Benesch 0540 (see under Benesch 0540, Fig.a, where a detail is taken from each drawing for comparison) but also has strong links with the documentary drawing of Two Orientals In Conversation, Benesch 0500a – the figures on the right seem especially compatible (see Fig.a). The multi-figured work, especially Benesch 0541, executed in the period around 1641-42, can be seen as a precursor to the Hundred Guilder Print, and in the drawing one can also point to the similarities in the pensive figure, seated on the ground to the left of centre, as well as the corpulent figure, acting as a kind of repoussoir (see Fig. b). He may be a reminiscence of the actor, Willem Bartelsz. Ruyter, who was so often depicted by Rembrandt (and on whom see under Benesch 0120).
The latter figure can be followed in a kind of journey through Rembrandt’s work, beginning with the St Joseph of Arimathea in the 1633 etching and painting of The Descent from the Cross, then in the present work (and, facing the viewer, in Benesch 0542 as well) and the Hundred Guilder Print, as we have seen, and later in the etching of Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe) of around 1652 (which also includes a figure comparable to the one just mentioned, facing the viewer, in Benesch 0542); and he is a motif, often, as here with his hands behind his back and/or with a stick, in a preparatory study and the final version of Ferdinand Bol’s Pyrrhus Showing his Elephants to Gaius Fabricius, 1656, now in the Royal Palace (formerly the Town Hall), Amsterdam – see Fig. c.[5]
Condition: Good, though with some slight foxmarks.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date:  1641?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (L. 2228; inv. RP-T-1901-A-4518).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, 2, 70; Valentiner, 1905, p.30 (c. 1639); Wickhoff, 1906, no.4, p.11; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no. 1160; Baldwin Brown, 1907, p.117; Saxl, 1908, p.340 (c.1636); Demonts, 1920, p.13 (c. 1645); Stockholm, 1920, p.26; Bredt, 1921, 1, repr. p.59 [1927 ed., p.61]; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1921, no.4, repr.; Kauffmann, 1922, p.41 (c. 1646); Meder, 1923, p.320; Hofstede de Groot, 1923-24, pp.106-8, repr.; Valentiner, I, 1925, no. 117, repr. (c. 1638); Kauffmann, 1926, pp.169, 171, 176 and 178 (1637-38); Van Dyke, 1927, p.71, repr. fig.49, pl.XIII (B. Fabritius); Hell, 1930, p.18, detail repr. fig. 2, and pp.20 and 22 (c. 1638); Paris, 1933, under no.1112, p.3 (1638-41); Benesch, 1935, p.36 (1642-43); Focillon, 1936, repr. p.31 (c. 1638); Kool, 1938, pp.22-23, repr. fig.8; Amsterdam, 1942, no. 46 (1638-39); Poortenaar, 1943, (c. 1640); Benesch, 1947, no.129, repr. (c. 1643); Rops, 1947, repr. p.34; Exh. Rome-Florence, 1951, no.67; Bibeln, 1954, repr. no.43; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no. 541, repr. fig.671/710 (c. 1643); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.90, repr. fig. 29 (1638-40); Rosenberg, 1959, p.113 (authentic); Benesch, 1960, no.43, repr. (c. 1643); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (c. 1638); Scheidig, 1962, no. 89, repr. and pp.53-54; Rembrandt-Bijbel, 1962, repr. p.181; Rotermund, 1963, no. 68, repr. p.87; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no. 61 (1638-41); Slive, 1965, no.300, with Lippmann reproduction (c. 1638-40); Clark, 1966, p.69, repr. fig.61; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no. 68 (1640-42); Exh. Paris, 1970, under no.197; Kuznetsov, 1970, p.91, repr. fig. 27 (c.1641-42); Held, 1973, p.124, repr. fig. 83; Broos, 1975-76, p.218, n.36 (corpulent, repoussoir figure to right compared with figure in La Petite Tombe, Bartsch 67; NH 298, and in the Deposition from the Cross, 1633, Bredius, 550; Wetering 107 and related etching Bartsch 81; NH 119, and Hundred Guilder Print, Bartsch 74; NH 239, and is a motif in all but the first of the preparatory studies and the final version of Ferdinand Bol’s Pyrrhus, 1656, Amsterdam, Royal Palace – Blankert, 1982, no. 52, repr.; Sumowski, Gemälde, 1, 1983, no. 100, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 2017, repr. fig. 168); Bernhard, 1976, p.326 (c. 1643); Clark, 1978, pp.127-28, repr. fig.145; Amsterdam, 1981, under no. 3, n. 12 and under no. 12, n. 6; Hoekstra, 1983, I, p.77, repr. (c. 1640-45); Amsterdam, 1985, no. 27, repr. (c. 1641; style resembles Benesch 0500a); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no. 31; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam, 1991-92.I, no. 16, repr. (c.1640); Exh. Washington, 1995-96, under no.70, repr. fig.1 (comparing Benesch 0527); Starcky, 1999, p.78; Exh. Frankfurt, 2000, p.146, under no. 61; Kreutzer, 2003, pp.56-57; Exh. Vienna, 2004, no. 105, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 2006, pp.92-93, repr. fig. 90; Schatborn, 2006, p.75, under no. 27; Exh. Paris, 2006-7, pp.92-94, under no. 28, repr. fig. 43; Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.222-23, repr. fig. 183 (made before Paris version, Benesch 0542, which has a more semi-circular arrangement); Verdi, 2014, pp.221-22, repr. fig. 196; Amsterdam, 2017, online, [accessed 8 September 2021] (as Amsterdam, 1985); Schatborn, 2019, no. 68, repr. (c. 1641).
PROVENANCE: Hendrik Albertus M. Croockewit; his sale, Amsterdam, Peppelendam and Schouten, 16 December 1874 and following days, lot 143 (‘Jacob et ses fils. Composition de dix figures à la plume avec de l’encre brune’), fl. 1,020, to Barthold Suermondt (L. 415); his sale, Frankfurt-am-Main, Prestel, 5 May 1879 and following days, lot 128 (‘Jacob assis dans un fauteuil, entouré de ses fils. Composition de dix figures. Dessin magnifique à la plume’), DM 750 DM; William Pitcairn Knowles (L.2643); his sale, Amsterdam, F. Muller & Co., 25 (26) June 1895 and following days, lot 522, bt C.F. Roos (dealer), fl. 300, for the Vereniging Rembrandt (Rembrandt Society); from whom acquired for fl. 345 by the present repository, 1901.
[1] See Verdi, 2014, pp.221-35; he also discusses some works by Rembrandt’s pupils.
[2] The former interpretation, which perhaps the most probable, was followed by most writers, including (for fuller references see Literature above): Hofstede de Groot, 1906; Bredt, 1921; Valentiner, 1925; Benesch, 3, 1955; Haverkamp-Begemann in Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum) 1956; Frerichs in Exh. Amsterdam,  1964-65; Starcky in Exh. Paris, 1988-89. The latter interpretation was supported only by Buberl in Wickhoff, 1906, and by Lugt in Paris, 1933 (followed by Starcky in Exh. Paris, 1988-89).
[3] Representations of both the possible moments depicted by Rembrandt are rare. As mentioned by Schatborn (Amsterdam, 1985 and 2017), Tümpel (1968, p.115 and pp.95-126, fig. 20, as also, with C. A. Tümpel, in Exh. Berlin, 1970, no. 20) pointed to the woodcut illustrations in Guillaume Guéroult, Figures de la Bible, illustrées de huictains françois, Lyons 1565, but Rembrandt does not appear to have been directly influenced by them.
[4] Schatborn in Amsterdam 1985 and 2017 (online), believes that the Paris drawing was the later of the two versions although the present writer remains uncertain about this for the reasons given above.
[5] See Broos, 1975-76 under Literature above.
First posted 29 September 2021.

Benesch 0542
Subject: Jacob and his Sons (Genesis, 43, 8-9 or Genesis, 45, 26)
Verso: Laid down
Medium: Pen and brown ink, touched with brown wash and some wite bodycolour; an erasure along the lower step; traces of red and black chalk. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, upper left, by Bonnat with his album number: “53”
200 x 276. Watermark: Arms of Basel (?) in a crowned shield.
COMMENTS: See under Benesch 0541, reproduced here side-by-side with the present drawing in Fig.a.
A copy is in the Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Bayonne (inv.1469). An engraved copy by Samuel Watts of 1766 was included in Rogers, 1778 (see Literature). Another was made in 1799 by De Claussin.
Condition: a tear at upper left; small loss near lower left edge; surface dirt, mainly at the upper edge and corners; an erasure along the lower step.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1641?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv. RF 4703).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Rogers, 1778, 2, p.219 (engraved copy by Samuel Watts of 1766); Dutuit, 1885, p.94; Lippmann, I, 174; Seidlitz, 1894, pp.122 and 125 (by Van Hoogstraten); Exh. Amsterdam, 1898; Exh. London, 1899, no.193; Sarre, 1904, p.148; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.670 (c.1645; related drawing [Benesch 0541] in Amsterdam); Wickhoff, 1906, p.11; Saxl, 1908, p.239 (c.1638); Rembrandt-Bijbel, 1910, pp.40-41; Demonts, 1920, pp.12-13, repr. fig.8; Exh. Paris, 1921, no.78; Hofstede de Groot, 1923-24, p.106; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.118, repr.; Kauffmann, 1926, pp.169, 171, 173, 176, 178, repr. pl.6; Van Dyke, 1927, p.73, repr. pl.13, fig.50 (by Barent Fabritius); Paris, 1933, no.1112, repr. pl.5; Benesch, 1935, p.36; Exh. Paris, 1937, no.121; Benesch, 3, 1955, no.542, repr.; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52; Slive, 1965, 1, no.186 (repr. from Lippmann); Exh. Paris, 1970, no.197; Broos, 1977, p.110; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.17, repr. fig.17a; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.31, repr.; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-92.I, under no.16, repr. fig.16a (c.1640); Schatborn, 2006, no. 27, repr.; Exh. Paris, 2006-7, no.28, repr.; Corpus, 5, 2011, p.223, repr. fig. 181 (made after Amsterdam version, Benesch 0541, and has a more semi-circular arrangement); Verdi, 2014, p.221; Amsterdam, 2017, online, under [accessed 8 September 2021] (as Amsterdam, 1985); Schatborn, 2019, no.69, repr. (c.1641).
PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, Sen., (L.2184); Thomas Hudson (L.2432); presumably his sale, London, 15 March, 1779, perhaps part of lot 41 or 16 March, 1779, part of lot 39; Léon Bonnat (L1714), by whom acquired before 1885, numbered by him top left: “53” in his album; presented by him to the present repository, 1919 (MS inventory vol. 20, p. 268).
First posted 1 October 2021.

Benesch 0543
Subject: Christ Preaching: Study for the Hundred Guilder Print
Verso: Blank (stuck down on translucent paper)
Medium: Pen and brown ink, touched with brown wash on paper perhaps prepared with some light brown wash. Inscribed top right in pen and brown ink, by Bonnat (his album no.): “62”
199 x 232. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: horizontal (distance apart uncertain).
COMMENTS: See under Benesch 0188. This is the first of the five known studies, discussed there, for the Hundred Guilder Print (Fig.a). The authenticity of the present drawing has been questioned and it is true that it differs substantially from the final print. Along with the tentative rendering of Christ, who was later turned to face the spectator, to some commentators there have seemed to be sufficient reasons to doubt the drawing.[1]
Yet in style it is characteristic of Rembrandt’s most freely penned studies of the mid-1640s and, as the light comes from the left, it is probably an abandoned idea for the figures to the left of Christ in the etching (his right – see the detail below in Fig.a), as well as for the kneeling woman turned to face Christ. For style, the authenticity of the drawing is, in the compiler’s opinion, more than adequately confirmed by its comparability with the signed drawing of the Star of the Kings in the British Museum (Benesch 736; see Figs.b-c): from the minute details to the broadly penned outlines, the compatibility of the two sheets is wholesale. The grouping of the figures is also comparable, as is the way the shading sometimes hugs their contours – see the details illustrated in Fig.c, which in addition reveals the comparability of the outlines of the heads as also of such minutiae as the eyes and noses.
The other drawings related to the same etching further bolster the attribution from the point of view of style,[2] as does another possibly connected drawing, Benesch 0190, despite the use there of the reed pen – the figure on the left of Benesch 0190 is here illustrated next to the right-hand figure in Benesch 0543 (see Fig.d). The same figure also relates in style to the standing woman on the right of Benesch 0547. In the light of these manifold and clear analogies with undoubted drawings by Rembrandt, there seem to be insufficient reasons to question the drawing’s status as an authentic work by Rembrandt himself.
The overall dynamic of the composition and the figure groups, with the triangular wedge of figures starting on the right and the distinct threesome in the middle-distance, as well as the figure of Christ himself, exhibit the Raphaelesque approach that has often been observed in The Hundred Guilder Print. For Raphael’s influence on Rembrandt, cf. Benesch 0348 (his copy after Paul preaching in Athens, where the general arrangement of Raphael’s original – illustrated there with Marcantonio’s engraving – is comparable to the present work). Other compositions by Raphael that might be compared include many of his other tapestry designs, as well as the frescoes of the Disputà and The School of Athens in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican; the Christ might even have been inspired by the figure of Constantine in the Vision of the Cross in the Sala di Costantino.[3]
Condition: A little faded but generally good; an irregular crease in the paper near the right edge.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1647-48?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886a; inv. RF 4717; MS Inventory, vol.20, p.271).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Paris, 1879, no.360; Neumann, 1918, p.90, repr. fig.25 (connects with Hundred Guilder Print [see above]); Bénédite and Demonts, 1921, repr. pl.22 (pupil’s work derived from the Hundred Guilder Print); Kauffmann, 1926-27, p.173; Lugt, 1931, p.63 and in Paris, 1933, no.1132 (1638-44; for the print though perhaps by a pupil); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.358, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.36; Exh. Paris, 1937, no.126; Benesch, 1947, no.130, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955, no.543, repr. (c.1643; reveals that The Hundred Guilder Print occupied Rembrandt “throughout the 1640s”; compares Benesch 0538; Benesch 0541 and Benesch 0547); Exh. Paris, 1955; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.215; Sumowski, Drawings, 4, 1981, p.1877, no.7 (doubtful); Amsterdam, 1985, p.48, n.6 (possibly by Bol); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.134, repr. fig.72 (retaining for Rembrandt after its omission by Starcky from Exh. Paris, 1988-89; compares Benesch 0736, Star of Kings; the figure of Christ to left compared with Benesch 0190 and Benesch 0482 recto); Royalton-Kisch, 1993.1, p.191, n.12; Exh. Paris, 2000, no.96; Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, under no.61, repr. fig.a; Berlin, 2006, under no.40, n.12 (not Rembrandt; suggests some of the analogies with the print are derivations from it); Schatborn, 2006, no.29 (doubtful); Exh. Paris, 2006-7, no.35, repr. (by Rembrandt, agreeing with Royalton-Kisch, 1990); Exh. Paris-Philadelphia-Detroit, 2011-12, no.24, repr. pl. 3.10; Berlin, 2018, under no.72, and n.4 (compares with Berlin drawing of Couple on Horseback [Berlin, 2018, no.72] and Munich drawing of the same subject [here under Not in Benesch] and suggests C. Fabritius); Exh. Denver, 2018, no.90, repr. (c.1648); Exh. Dresden, 2019, p.211 (not Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]; This Catalogue Online, 8 October 2021.
PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445); S. Woodburn (dealer; Exh. London, 1935) from whom bt by William Esdaile (L.2617); his sale, London, 17 June, 1840, lot 81, bt Hodgson for Brondgeest; G. Leembruggen Jzn,; his sale, Amsterdam, 5 March and following days, 1866, lot 472, bt Lamme; Jacobson (according to Benesch); J.C. Robinson (according to Benesch); Léon Bonnat (L.1714, with no.”62″ from his album), by whom presented to the present repository in 1919.
[1] See Literature above for the opinions of Demonts (in Bénédite and Demonts, 1921), Lugt (in Paris, 1933), Sumowski, 1981; Schatborn, in Amsterdam, 1985, under no.21, n.6, who suggested Ferdinand Bol, and Schatborn, 2006 (and he also omitted the drawing from Schatborn, 2019); Starcky, by omission from Exh. Paris, 1988-89; Bevers in Berlin, 2018 (the latter’s comparisons do not hold up well in illustration).
[2] Benesch 0183-85, Benesch 0188 (where the drawings are discussed) and Benesch 0388.
[3] See also under Benesch 0451 (Castiglione), Benesch 0180, Benesch 0188 and Benesch 0475, where Fig.j is another Raphael composition that might have some relevance for the grouping of the foreground figures here.
First posted 8 October 2021.

Benesch 0544
Subject: The Healing of Tobit (Tobit, XI, 10-14)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash.
Measurements not recorded.
COMMENTS: Benesch included the drawing on the basis of a comparison with Benesch 0517 (qv). While the comparison is justified, the attribution is not, and the drawing, for the same reasons as described there, is here designated as a school work, possibly by Ferdinand Bol. To judge from Benesch’s illustration, the fine and delicate lines in the background are closely comparable, although the handling in the figures is here somewhat firmer.
The apocryphal Book of Tobit occupied Rembrandt and his pupils considerably,[1] as well as other seventeenth-century artists throughout Europe. See also, for example, Benesch 0545-48.
Condition: Unknown.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Ferdinand Bol??).
Date: 1650?
COLLECTION: D Zwickau, Schocken Collection (formerly).[2]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955, no.544, repr. (c.1642-44).
[Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Unrecorded.
[1] See Held, 1964 and 1980.
[2] This according to Benesch. The Schocken family is now believed to live between the USA and Israel.
First posted 12 October 2021.

Benesch 0545
Subject: The Healing of Tobit (Tobit, XI, 10-14)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey-brown wash. Inscribed lower right in pen and black ink: “Ri[e?]mbren”
184 x 253.
COMMENTS: One of a group of drawings of the subject from the 1640s, probably all inspired by Rembrandt’s own drawing, Benesch 0547 (cf. Benesch 0544, Benesch 0546-48, qqv). In style this is a characteristic work by the hand responsible for the “Carel Fabritius” group, including Benesch 0512-13, with which it has previously been compared.[1] Benesch 0515 also supports this assessment, and the deft perspectival study on the right has links, especially in the shading, with the window to the right of Benesch 0480a, as well as with the arch.
The composition relates to a painting of the subject, now in Stuttgart, which was formerly attributed to Rembrandt, which appears to be a school work of high quality.[2]
Condition: Good.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius?
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1955 and L.1886a; inv. 22951; formerly NIII8619; MA8139; MS Inventory, 9, p.401).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Reiset MS (school of Rembrandt); Michel, 1893, repr. pl.60 (relates to painting in Stuttgart, inv. 2521 [Bredius 502; Corpus, 3, C 86]); Seidlitz, 1894, p.123 (doubtful); Lippmann, I, 153; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.600 (c.1636; as Michel, 1893); Greef, 1907, repr. pl. V; Saxl, 1908, p. 236 (c.1641, comparing etching of Angel Departing from Tobit and his Family, Bartsch 43; NH 189); Valentiner, I, 1924, no.248, repr.; Kauffmann, 1926-27, p.170 (as Michel, 1893); Paris, 1933, no.1123 (the door to right a study in perspective); Benesch, 3, 1955, no.545, repr. (c.1642-44; elaborated from Benesch 0544; compares “brittle” figures with Benesch 0512, Benesch 0513, Benesch 0526 and Benesch 0528; also compares Benesch 0548); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.113-114 (perhaps later than the Stuttgart painting); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (copy after the Stuttgart painting); Sumowski, 6, 1982, under no.1522axx (Rembrandt but feeble; provided model for drawing in Cambridge, Mass. Fogg Art Museum, inv. 1970.64); Corpus, 3, 1989, p.555 (comparing motifs in Benesch 0545-48 and Benesch C24 with Stuttgart painting of the same subject [Bredius 502; Corpus C86]); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Marquis de Calvière; his sale, Paris, 1775, part of lot 314, bt P.-M.-G. Grimod, comte d’Orsay from whom confiscated at the Revolution, 1793; transferred from Versailles to the present repository in 1803.
[1] By Benesch, 1955 (see Literature).
[2] Bredius 502; Corpus, 3, 1989, no. C 86 (circle of Rembrandt).
First posted 14 October 2021.

Benesch 0546
Subject: The Healing of Tobit (Tobit, 11, 1-15)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, touched with white (oxidised). Inscribed verso in graphite: “Inv. nr. /18007”
150 x 155.
COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0544-45 and Benesch 0548 (qqv), this is one of a group of drawings of the same subject from the 1640s, probably all inspired by Rembrandt’s own composition, Benesch 0547. The figure of the old Tobit here is similar to that in Benesch 0548 and both drawings show his right foot crossed in front of his left, as does Benesch 0545.
In style it seems close enough to Ferdinand Bol,[1] whose drawing of Joseph Interpreting Dreams, now in Hamburg (inv.22412; Sumowski 101) exhibits many stylistic analogies: the rather liquid reinforcement of parts of the outlines, diagonal shading (here towards the upper right), wash that ranges in touch from delicate if rather flat areas of tone to bold strokes made with the tip of the brush (see Fig.a). Compare also Benesch 0587a.
Condition: Generally good; some staining lower left corner and a few other spots, parts muted with lead white (oxidised).
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol.
Date: 1645-50?
COLLECTION: DK Copenhagen, Statens Museum For Kunst (inv. KKS18007/Tu 57b,2).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Greef, 1907, p.50, repr. pl.3; Valentiner, 1925, no.251, repr.; Lugt, 1944, p.331, repr. fig.12 (Rembrandt gives the narrative a sense of the miraculous, although at the time in the story it was not yet perceived as such); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.546, repr. fig.676/716 (c.1642-44; composition developed from Benesch 0544-45; style of the figure of Tobias compared with Benesch 0656 and Benesch 0668-69); Portman, 1955, pp.38ff; London, 1961, under no.7, repr. fig. 4; Fischer, 1977, repr. p.107 (1640-42); Sumowski, Drawings, 2, 1979, under no.521xx; Sumowski, Drawings, 6, 1982, under nos.1522axx and 1538x; Corpus, 3, 1989, p.555 (comparing motifs in Benesch 0545-48 and Benesch C24 with Stuttgart painting of the same subject [Bredius 502; Corpus C86]); Exh. Copenhagen, 1996, no.10, repr. (Bol; c.1653, resembling Hamburg drawing [see above] and Bol’s Self-Portrait, now in the Louvre, inv.23.008, Sumowski 107); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: L. H. Delteil?; possibly A. Sigwalt?;[2] sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 11-14 June, 1912, lot 214, bt Gustav Falck, from whom acquired in 1948 by the Ny Carlsbergfondet, by which presented that year to the present repository.
[1] In Exh. Copenhagen, 1996, the doubts concerning Rembrandt’s authorship, of Wolfgang Schulz (in 1975), the present writer and Peter Schatborn (both in 1995), are recorded, with the latter suggesting Ferdinand Bol. See further (accessed 20 October 2021).
[2] Both these names included by Garff in Exh. Copenhagen, 1996, no.10, and again at the web page cite in n.1 above (the former no longer with the question mark).
First posted 22 October 2021.

Benesch 0547
Subject: The Healing of Tobit (Tobit, XI, 10-14)
Medium: Pen and brown ink, rubbed with the finger and touched with brown wash and white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and slightly darker brown ink. Inscribed verso, upper centre, in graphite: “-13” [crossed out]; upper right, in black chalk: “rembrant”; upper right, in brown ink: “D”; upper centre, in pen and brown ink: “[15-50?] / Tobias”; upper left, in pen and brown ink: ”9” [sideways]; lower left, in pen and brown ink: [illegible, cropped]; lower left, in pen and brown ink: “No 2910”; lower left, in pen and brown ink: “Rembrandt”; lower right, in pen and brown ink: “-d[l?]-13” [upside down]
211 x 177.
COMMENTS: The drawing is among the most revered of Rembrandt’s depictions of biblical or historical themes. While the overall dynamics of the composition are impressively balanced, in style it forms almost a compendium of Rembrandt’s ways of drawing in the earlier-to-mid-1640s: from the refinement of detail in the central figure group, which reaches a peak in the head of the young Tobias, whose youthful character, love, duty of care and total concentration are astonishingly distilled and communicated, to the broader handling of the periphery and the dancing calligraphy of the nicely poised standing figure of Sara on the right.
Tobias is not the only protagonist to be characterised with exceptional insight: perhaps especially worthy of mention are the understandably tense old Tobit himself, as he grips the arm-rests, and Anna (or Hannah) peering approvingly over the proceedings, with raised eyebrows and through finely delineated spectacles, proffering a small dish containing the fish-gall. The quality here is self-evidently exceptional and sharpens our assessment of the pupils’ drawings associated with it, which fall aside from Rembrandt’s own oeuvre to become, rather obviously, school works. Many of them were inspired by the present drawing and stand as often ambitious attempts to emulate its quality, sometimes not without some success – see especially Benesch 0131, Benesch 0544-46, Benesch 0548, Benesch 0639, Benesch 0646 and Benesch 1154 (the last three of which look to be a decade later), all of which were widely accepted as Rembrandt’s own work until recent decades. As well as the panel in Stuttgart mentioned below, there are several other paintings of the subject by Rembrandt’s pupils.[1]
The confident hatching resembles that in the documentary drawing of 1641 of Two Orientals in Conversation (Benesch 0500a), while the overall breadth in some areas, especially of the figure of Anna on the right, is characteristic of Rembrandt’s liquid handling of the 1640s and has links with the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736). Partly influenced by the precision of refined draughtsmanship in the central group, the drawing is here placed around 1641-44. Many of the other drawings of the subject mentioned above probably date from the same period, but a painting in Stuttgart, formerly considered to be by Rembrandt (Fig.a; Bredius 502; Corpus C86), while it may be a school work (the present writer still believes it could at least partly be by Rembrandt), gives a sense in the expressions and style, as also in the wavey outline of Hanna’s headgear, that it could be based on an earlier idea by Rembrandt himself from the 1630s. There are similarities to the drawing in the central figure group, especially in the angel and also in the pose of Tobit, although he is seated facing the window on the left – perhaps more rationally, so that his head receives the light directly. But the painting was originally in a horizontal format, having been subsequently cut down.
The story from the apocryphal Book of Tobit occupied Rembrandt and his pupils considerably,[1] as well as other sixteenth- and seventeenth-century artists throughout Europe. The scene represented here shows Tobit’s son, Tobias, smearing fish-gall – which he had collected on the advice of the angel – onto his father’s eyes and peeling away the film, in order to restore the old man’s sight. It has been correctly observed that in the present case, Tobias seems to be wielding a scalpel as if performing cataract surgery on his father’s left eye, a procedure pioneered in Amsterdam in 1635 by Dr. Job Janszoon van Meekren.[2] Certainly this acute observation encapsulated in the drawing communicates a sense of first-hand experience and observation.
Condition: Generally good though rather foxed, especially in the upper half, and with some brown staining, with a particular stain top centre.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1641-43?
COLLECTION: USA Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art (J.H.Wade purchase fund; inv. 1969.69).[3]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Paris, 1879; Dutuit, 1885. p.104 (as “Tobie recouvrant la vue”, under Chevalier de Claussin); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.815; Greeff, 1907, pp.54-56, no. 3, repr. pl. VI; Lippmann, 4/2, no.55; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.322; Bredt, 1918. pp.76 and 89; Stockholm, 1920. p.60, repr. fig.69; Bredt, Rembrandt-Bibel, 1921, 1, p.159 (2nd ed., 1927, vol. 1, p.178); Valentiner, 1, no.252, repr.; Van Dyke, 1927. no.149 (as unknown pupil F), repr. pl.XXXVIII; Benesch, 1935, pp.35-36; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.547, repr. fig.677/715 (c.1642-44; compares Tobit with Jacob in Benesch 0528; figure on the right compared with those in Benesch 0542-43); Held, 1964, p.16, repr. pl.24 (and in Held, 1996, p.129, repr. pl.26); Slive, 1965, 2, no.501 (repr. Lippmann’s facsimile); ‘La Chronique des Arts’ (supplement to the Gazette des Beaux-Arts), February, 1970, p.62, no.287, repr.; Exh. Berlin, 1970, no.33, repr.; Exh. Cleveland, 1970, no.183, repr.; Richards, 1970, pp.68-75, repr. fig.1; Exh. Cleveland, 1973; Exh. Washington-Denver-Fort Worth, 1977, p.34 and pp.38-39, no. 34, repr. frontis; Cleveland Handbook, 1978, p.158, repr.; Corpus, 3, 1982, p.555 (listed in context of Stuttgart painting); Schatborn, 1982, p.254, repr. fig.2 (1640s; based on Stuttgart painting but adds figure of Sarah); Exh. Cleveland, 1982; Exh. Cleveland, 1983; Corpus, 3, 1989, p.555 (comparing motifs in Benesch 0545-48 and Benesch C24 with Stuttgart painting of the same subject [Bredius 502; Corpus C86]); Exh. Cleveland, 1989; Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991–92.I, pp.70-72, no.18, repr.; Exh. Münster-Amsterdam-Jerusalem, 1994, p.121, n. 81; Exh. New York, 1995-96, p.167, repr. fig.87; Exh. Copenhagen, 1996, pp. 34-35, repr. fig. 10; Schama, 1999. pp.425-28, repr.; Cleveland-New York-Houston, 2000-2002, pp.166-67, p.293, no.67, repr. p.167; Kozieł, 2000, p.72, repr. fig.19; Rosand, 2002, pp.248-251, repr. fig.238; Exh. Boston-Chicago, 2003-4, p.202, under no. 133, repr.; Schwartz, 2006, p.360, repr. fig.638; Taylor, 2007, p.77, repr. fig.25; Exh. Kingston, 2008-9, p.180, repr. fig.108a; Slive, 2009, pp.210-11, repr. fig.15.20 (c.1640-45); Petherbridge, 2010, p.109, repr. fig. 65; Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.216-17, repr. fig.161 (c.1642-44; emotional charge in the figures; speculates whether the drawing, as Van Hoogstraten suggested was often the case, might have been made in the evening and corrected the next morning); Exh. Cleveland, 2012; Exh. Cleveland, 2014; Perlove and Keyes, 2015, no.64, repr.; Berlin, 2018, pp.229-230, repr.; Schatborn, 2019, p.26 and no.70, repr. (c.1641; Tobias’ expression similar to Benesch 0876).
PROVENANCE: Ignace-Joseph de Claussin (Lugt 485, not stamped); his sale, Paris, Batignolles, 2 December, 1844, lot 53 (“Tobie recouvrant la vue”), bt Van Os;[4] George Jacob Johan van Os; his sale, Paris, Roussel et Defer, 20-22 January, 1851, lot 179 (“Tobie recouvrant la vue”); Pierre Defer and Henri Dumesnil (Lugt 739); their sale, Paris, Drouot, 10-12 May, 1900, lot 84, bt Reinach; Joseph Reinach; by descent to his daughter, Mme Pierre Goujon; with Wildenstein & Co., Inc., New York, from whom bought by the present repository, 1969.
[1] See Held, 1964 and 1980; see also the index of subjects in Sumowski, Gemälde. A painting listed by the latter as by Willem de Poorter (vol. 4, no.1613) has been assigned to Jan Adriaensz. van Staveren by the RKD (see A drawn variant by a pupil that reflects Benesch 0547 is in Munich (Benesch C 24; also repr. Corpus, 3, 1989, p.555, fig.5).
[2] See Held, 1964, pp.7-9 and 15, who argues that Rembrandt could have witnessed such an operation.
[3] I am grateful to the Cleveland Museum of Art and its drawings curators for the thorough details of this drawing online at: <; (accessed 3 November 2021).
[4] Exh. Paris, 1879 erroneously listed this drawing as once belonging to the Narcisse Revil collection, a mistake that has been repeated in the subsequent literature until 1991 (information from source given in n.3).
First posted 10 November 2021.

Benesch 0548
Subject: The Healing of Tobit (Tobit, XI, 10-14)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and a paler brown ink. Inscribed verso, lower centre in an old hand, in graphite: “n.° 10” and in pen and brown ink: “kk”; lower right, in graphite: “165”; inscribed on a remnant of the old mount, in graphite: “II”
208 x 202.
COMMENTS: The drawing has many fine qualities, from the delicacy of its penwork, not least in the refined parallel shading, the freedom with which the spinning wheel is indicated as also the calligraphic indication of the oblivious dog, and in the compact design and interaction of the figure-group as a whole. For these reasons it was long accepted as Rembrandt’s own work and exhibited as a distinguished example of his biblical illustrations. But in 1982, Schatborn published the work as by a follower (see Literature below).
This assessment appears correct if we compare the drawing with Benesch 0547 (qv.), around which it forms part of a group of pupils’ “satellite” sketches of the same subject, all related also to a painting in Stuttgart. Compared with Benesch 0548, Benesch 0547 displays a far wider range of touch and a characteristic acuity in the description of form and of the varied personalities and their actions. Documentary drawings of the earlier 1640s, the period to which the present drawing appears to belong (as also several other drawings of the same subject – see under Benesch 0547), also distinguish themselves from the handling here, Benesch 0500a of 1641 being a significant case in point: in the latter, the more confident touch throughout and the less mincing hatching seem sufficiently removed from Benesch 0548 to assign the present work to a talented pupil’s hand. There are some qualities in common with Benesch 0545, here ascribed to the “Carel Fabritius” group, but the touch in the present study is generally more even-tempered. Rembrandt’s own handling, by contrast, often exhibits more than a hint of the matador.
Some of these characteristics are encountered in drawings attributed to Ferdinand Bol, such as the Vertumnus and Pomona (Benesch 0165) or the Esau Selling His Birthright to Jacob (Benesch 0564), though less so in Bol’s documentary drawings. Nevertheless, Benesch 0548 is here assigned to him, albeit with some hesitation.[1] Also noteworthy is the similarity between the kneeling figure of Anna (or Hannah) and the worshipper in Benesch 0522, both in turn connected with Benesch A81 (which is illustrated under Benesch 0522, Fig.a), it being characteristic of school drawings to cannibalise figures of Rembrandt’s own invention.
Condition: Foxed and light struck, but otherwise good.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1641-45?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, Fodor Collection (L.1036; inv. TA 10281).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amsterdam, 1863, p.37, no.165; Gram, 1863, p.340; Vosmaer, 1868, p.447 (relates to Stuttgart painting); Gower, 1875, p.126; Vosmaer, 1877, p.513 (as Vosmaer, 1968); Dutuit, 1885, p.92; Michel, 1893, p.591; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, p.xx and no.1215 (notes the pentimento in Tobit’s arm); Hofstede de Groot, 1906.1, no.83; Lippmann, 3, 83; Greeff, 1907, pp.52-53, repr. pl.IV; Saxl, 1908, p.348 no.83 (as Vosmaer, 1868 and 1877); Wurzbach, 1910, p.415; Stockholm, 1920, p.61, repr. fig.70; Kleinmann, 3, 14; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.247, repr.; Kauffmann, 1926, pp.170 and 175 (as Vosmaer, 1868 and 1877) ; De Lint, 1930, p.89; Paris, 1933, under no.1123; Honderd teekeningen, 1934, no.9, repr.; Bredius, 1935, p.23, under no.502 (as Vosmaer, 1868 and 1877); Benesch, 1935, p.36; Roosval, 1943, p.46 n.2 and p.50; Exh. Basel, 1948, no.8; Exh. Amsterdam, 1951, no.2; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.548, repr. fig.678/717 (c.1642-44; ‘brittle’ pen structure relates to Benesch 0545); Exh. Cologne, 1955, no.62; Exh. Warsaw, 1956, no.9; Pigler, 1956, 1, p.190. Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.113-114 (with Benesch 0545; shortly before or shortly after the Stuttgart painting); Rotermund, 1957, p.146; Exh. Haifa, 1958, no.44, repr. on front cover; Exh. Recklinghauen, 1959, no.189; Exh. Tel Aviv, 1959, no.93, repr.; Exh. Belgrade-Jerusalem-Amsterdam, 1960, no.67, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1961, no.D57, repr.; Exh. Budapest, 1962, no.67; Stuttgart, 1962, p.162; Exh. Amsterdam, 1963, no.27, repr.; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.84; Held, 1964, p.16, repr. fig.23; Exh. Ingelheim, 1964, no.66; Slive, 1965, 2, no.419 (reproducing Lippmann facsimile); Exh. Jerusalem, 1965, no.42, repr.; Held, 1969, p.115, repr. fig.25; Van der Waals, 1970, p.68, repr. fig.10; Richards, 1970, pp. 68-75, repr. fig.4; Broos, 1977, p.111, no.548; Van Veen and Jonker, 1977, p.22, no.7; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under no.236x; Held, 1980, pp.7 and 20, repr. on the cover; Hoekstra, 1980, p.52, repr.; Amsterdam, 1981, no.5, repr. (before 1636 painting in Stuttgart; detailed summary concerning this iconography); Schatborn, 1982, pp.253-54, repr. fig.1 (follower of Rembrandt; depends on Stuttgart painting, Bredius 502; Corpus C86); Corpus, 3, 1989, p.555 (comparing motifs in Benesch 0545-48 and Benesch C24 with Stuttgart painting of the same subject [Bredius 502; Corpus C86]); Exh. Tokyo-Chiba-Yamaguchi, 1992, no.107; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: C. Ploos van Amstel; his sale, Amsterdam, Ph. van der Schley, J. and B. de Bosch Jerzn, J. IJver and C. S. Roos, 1800, 3 March and following days, album LLL no.16: “Tobias de oude, van zyne blindheid genezen; fraai met de pen en weinig roet, door denzelven” (ie. Rembrandt), bt Van der Schley, f.4.10); Abraham Jacob Saportas; his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries… Roos, 14 May 1832, pp.36-37, lot 21: “De genezing van Tobias; met pen, door Rembrandt”, bt Buffa, f.22, or lot 43: “De genezing van Tobias; met idem [pen], door Rembrandt”, bt Buffa, f 28; I. J. de Claussin; his sale, Paris, Batignolles, 2 December, 1844, lot 54: “Rembrandt van Rhyn (Paul). Le même sujet [Tobie] différemment traité. Dans cette composition, qui n’est que de quatre figures, Tobie est placé à droite. Ce dessin est dans le goût du précédent [Benesch 0547]. H. 21 c., L. 20 c. 1 m.”, bt Buffa, f.33; C.J. Fodor, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1860.
[1] Cf. Benesch A026 of this subject, assigned to Bol in Berlin, 2018, no.11 (Sumowski 980xx, attributed it to Govert Flinck).
First posted 21 November 2021.

Benesch 0549
Subject: Sarah Complaining of Hagar to Abraham (Genesis, 16, 4-6)
Verso: Blank (inspected in transmitted light only)
Medium: Pen and brown ink, with corrections in white bodycolour (in the centre), on very pale brown paper; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower right in black chalk: “Rembrandt” and the same again on the backing (both perhaps late 19th century); inscribed verso, lower right, in graphite: “Rembrandt” and lower right: “S” [crossed out]
190 x 305. Watermark: none visible; chain lines: 24h.
COMMENTS: This impressive drawing, executed delicately but also with verve and confidence, offers a direct connection with Benesch 0504 in the figure of Abraham, seen from behind, which is almost replicated here. The temptation would be to assume that the two drawings are by the same hand and that both belong to the “Carel Fabritius” group, a theory offered some support by comparisons with Benesch 0488 and Benesch 0515, especially in the background trees, and with Benesch 0491 with its refined penwork in the figures.[1]
However, Benesch 0504, with its broader, almost sweeping handling, partly the result of employing a reed pen, may also be differentiated in its finer lines in the figures, which seem disciplined and reticent, while in Benesch 0549 the shading is considerably more fussed over or pernickety: in the Abraham, for example, it is applied in close parallels that often simply add to the tone, filling areas of drapery without enhancing the modelling, and in the other two figures, as well as in the step to the lower right, its fine and calligraphic quality departs from what we find in the “Carel Fabritius” group as a whole. The sense of the calligraphic extends to the description of the trees beyond Hagar and to the right of the peacock, energised and near-abstract swirls which, though Rembrandtesque, assume a character of their own.
Comparisons may be made with several drawings that are currently attributed to Ferdinand Bol. For example, in the vegetation there are similarities to Benesch 0551 and Benesch 0557; in the step as well as the figures, to Benesch 0526; in the trees in the distance to Benesch 0490. Note the horizontally zigzagging shading that descends in the spandrel of the door-frame above Hagar, and its compatibility with a passage to the extreme right of Benesch 0557 – they provide an exemplary target for Morellian connoisseurship! These are far closer than Benesch 0488, Benesch 0513 or Benesch 0515, and discount the connection with the “Carel Fabritius” group.
Where Rembrandt himself is concerned, the style is not commensurate with drawings such as his Two Orientals in Discussion, of 1641 (Benesch 0500a), or other in historical scenes – for example, Benesch 0606. Compared with Rembrandt, although his influence is pronounced, one may remark on the wide spacing of this broad composition, which to some degree undermines the sense of interaction between the figures, as well as a certain lack of plasticity in the forms, despite the fact that many of them are worked up in some detail. The aerial perspective is also somewhat less than subtly handled, with the relative distances occasionally flattened by a lack of differentiation in the pressure of the pen – the foliage to the right and that beyond Hagar, executed as if they occupied the same plane, being a case in point. But above all, the attribution to Rembrandt falls aside because of the clear stylistic distinction between Benesch 0549 and any of Rembrandt’s documentary, or more securely attributed drawings. Compare also, for example, the Entombment (Benesch 0482 recto), or the now generally accepted Satire on Art Criticism of 1644 (Benesch A035a – see the Not in Benesch section), and the stylistic distance from Rembrandt only increases.
Given the detailed finish of so much of the drawing and its general analogies in this respect with Rembrandt’s studies of the early 1640s, it seems reasonable to assign it to the period around 1640-45, when Bol was either still active in Rembrandt’s workshop, or just launching his independent career.
The subject is rare, but worthy of particular mention is, firstly, the fact that there is a later painting of the subject by Rembrandt’s pupil Aert de Gelder, although it is set in an interior and entirely different in composition;[2] and secondly, that the episode immediately precedes the encounter of Hagar and the Angel on the Road to Shur, another rare subject that was depicted by Ferdinand Bol in his drawing in the Rijksmuseum (see under Benesch 0522, Fig.d), while the related subject of Hagar and the Angel was painted by Carel Fabritius in around 1645 (repr. under Benesch 497A, Fig.a, and Benesch 518b, Fig.a), the period to which Benesch 0549 is here assigned.
A copy of the central section was sold in Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 6 November, 2001, lot 57, repr. (see Fig.a).
Condition: Generally good; some dirt at upper corners; light struck and thus discoloured (with a paler, narrow channel of paper at the edge which must have been protected from the light by the window of a former mount); laid down on a thin backing.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1640-45?
COLLECTION: F Bayonne, Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bayonne (L.1714 and another, rectangular mark, verso, stamped in black ink [not in Lugt]: “COLLECTION / LEON BONNAT / 00645”; inv. 645/NI 1451).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, 3, 24; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.665; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.291; Valentiner, I, 1924, no.15, repr.; Weisbach, 1926, repr. fig.53; Bredt, 1927, 1, p.4, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.36; Hamann, 1936, p.554, repr. fig.118 (notes link in figure of Abraham with Benesch 0504); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.549, repr. (c.1643-44; compares for style Benesch 0509 and Benesch 0555-56; compares setting to painting of Bathsheba at her Toilet, 1643, Bredius 513; not in Wetering; compares Benesch 0504 as Hamann, 1936, under the latter entry); Exh. Bayonne, 1968-1969, no.11; Exh. Bayonne, 1975, no.11; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under nos.101, 214x, 239x, 245x, and vol.9, 1985, under no.2207. [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: A. Firmin-Didot (L.119); E. Desperet, called Auguste Desperet (L.721); L. Bonnat (L.1714), by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1922.
[1] In a first draft of this entry, posted on 24 November 2021, the compiler pursued this idea and included the drawing in the “Carel Fabritius” group.
[2] See Sumowski, Gemälde, 2, 1983, no.741, repr..
First posted 8 January 2022 (see n.1).

Benesch 0550
Subject: Sarah Bringing Hagar to Abraham (Genesis, 16, 1-3)
Verso: Laid down
Medium: Pen and brown ink with some white bodycolour (partly oxidised); ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
182 x 176.
COMMENTS: The drawing depicts Abraham’s barren wife, Sarah, bringing her slave Hagar to her husband in the hope that she might conceive in her stead. Hagar is unusually dressed in a Phrygian cap, perhaps to make her look less like a servant or to denote, albeit inaccurately, her Egyptian origins,[1] and this emblem of status appears in many works by Rembrandt and his pupils (see, for example, Benesch 0299, Benesch 0316, Benesch 0476 and Benesch 0522).
The present writer tentatively suggested that the drawing might be by Willem Drost, an idea that has been cast aside.[2] While it is true that the style is somewhat less unruly or bold and, in the figures, less geometrical that in the most characteristic drawings ascribed to the “Willem Drost” group (thus designated because there are no certain drawings by him), a comparison with a work such as Benesch 1008 reveals that although not a perfect match, the analogies are worthy of attention, not least in the background architecture (see Fig.a).[3] All attributions to Willem Drost remain tentative and to suggest the uncertain nature of this particular one, the name is here used with two question marks. While it is true that the somewhat tentative treatment, especially of the figures, is not wholly characteristic of many drawings in the “Drost group”, the quality and spacing of the hatching, and especially the combination of horizontal and vertical strokes in the architecture to the right, marry well with his work. The series of parallel vertical strokes below the arch often end with a small point, revealing a moment’s hesitation with the pen at the end of each stroke, and this is highly characteristic of “Drost’s” work, including the drawing in Fig.a. If not by the same hand as other works in the “Drost” group, it must surely have been made by a pupil who, like Drost, studied in Rembrandt’s studio in the early-to-mid 1650s, when the drawing was most probably made.
Condition: Generally good, apart from the above-noted oxidation of some of the white bodycolour; a few minor spots and stains, including one near Richardson’s mark near the lower right corner.
Summary attribution: Willem Drost??
Date: 1650-54?
COLLECTION: F Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (L.829; inv. PC 34608-1/31.608).[4]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Chennevières, 1880, p.34; Dutuit, 4, 1885, p. 94; Marcheix, 1908-1909, p.258; Lavallée, 1917, p.281; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.433, repr. (subject Ruth and Naomi); Lavallée and Delacre, 1927, repr. pl.22; Benesch, 1935, p.36; Paris, 1950, no.482, repr. pl.lvi (c.1640-45; Ruth and Naomi); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.550, repr. fig.679/719 (c.1640-45; subject is Sarah and Hagar; for style compares Benesch 0549 and Benesch 0558; elongated figures characteristic of earlier 1640s, as in Benesch 0522) ; Exh. Paris, 1955, no.58; Roger-Marx, 1960, p. 212, rep. fig. 72c; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.189; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under no.239x; Exh. Paris-Malibu-Hamburg, 1981-82, no.75; Brugerolles, 1984, no.205; Exh. Nice, 1999, no.18; Exh. Paris, 2007, no.133; Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012-14, no.36, repr. (school of Rembrandt); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2184); John Barnard (L.1419); Thomas Thane (L.2420); William Esdaile (L.2617 recorded on former mount); his sale, London, Christie’s, June, 1840, lot 1044, bt Mayer, 14s; E. Desperet (L.721); his sale, Paris, 7-13 June, 1865, lot 272; Alfred Armand; given by him to Prosper Valton; given by the latter’s widow to the present repository in 1908.
[1] The idea that she is in a rich apparel is noted by Schatborn in Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012-14, no.36. According to Genesis, Hagar was Sarah’s Egyptian slave.
[2] By Schatborn (see n.1). However, he compares Benesch 0641, which also seems close to drawings of the “Willem Drost” group.
[3] See New York, 2006, no.61, where the Dost attribution is taken up.
[4] The latter number is given in Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012-14, no.36; the first number online at: [accessed 27 November, 2021].
First posted 29 November 2021.

Benesch 0551
Subject: Cattle and Sheep at a Watering-Place Near Large Buildings with Mountains Beyond
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash.; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (partly cut away)
190 x 240.
COMMENTS: The subject of the drawing is uncertain, though it has been suggested that it may relate to the Genesis story of Jacob and Laban.[1]
The style of the drawing, already questioned as a Rembrandt in 1933,[2] is reminiscent to some degree of the “Carel Fabritius” group (see under Benesch 500), but overall, both in the figures and landscape, seems nearer drawings by or attributed to Ferdinand Bol. In Benesch 0490, for example, the figures as well as the distant mountain landscape and the trees to the left of centre resemble those here, while the use of wash in the cattle and at the upper right seem close to Benesch 0554. The rather approximate use of the tip of the brush in the trees to the left may also be compared with Benesch 0165 and Benesch 0529, while the peripheral, inexact penwork at the lower left resembles the handling in the same area in Benesch 0480 and Benesch 0073, as well as in the Rijksmuseum’s drawing by Bol of Hagar and the Angel on the Road to Sur (illustrated under Benesch 537, Fig.a).
Condition: Generally good, but somewhat spotted (foxed) and stained, especially along the lower edge and in the sky area.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (His de La Salle collection; inv. RF 692; formerly HDLS275; MS inventory, 19, p.56).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Paris, 1933, no.1285 (not Rembrandt but close to him c.1636; perhaps a biblical episode, possibly regarding Jacob’s sojourn with Laban;); Benesch, 1935, p.36; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.551 and vol.IV, under no.C40 (c.1643-44; quotes Lugt on the iconography, which is uncertain; compares Benesch A052, Louvre inv.22935; landscape compared with Benesch 0549; Benesch C40 is a copy after a related drawing inspired drawing by a pupil of the Departure of Tobias, repr. under Benesch 551 [then in Geneva, coll. of Erich Lederer]); Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.206x. [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: A.-Ch.-H. His de La Salle (L. 1333; Etats des dessins… His de La Salle…, n°275), by whom presented to the present repository in 1878.
[1] Lugt in Paris, 1933, no.1285.
[2] As n.1 above. It is noteworthy that the drawing has been largely ignored since its inclusion in Benesch’s catalogue, apart from the passing references by Sumowski (see Literature).
First posted 3 December 2021.

Benesch 0552
Subject: David Taking his Leave from Jonathan (1 Samuel, 20)
Verso: Laid down
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some lead white heightening (mostly oxidised). Inscribed lower left by a later hand in pen and brown ink: “Rimbrant 1634” and top right (by Bonnat): “70” [his album number]
180 x 235.
COMMENTS: The subject was depicted by Rembrandt in his celebrated painting in St Petersburg, which is dated 1642 (Bredius 511; Wetering 188). In it, the two men embrace. The drawing may have been made at the same time but its breadth of style seems to indicate a slightly later period, perhaps the end of the 1640s. There are analogies, both in the figures and the broad use of the wash, with Benesch 0493, here ascribed tentatively to Ferdinand Bol, and the trees in the landscape also connect with drawings given to Bol, including Benesch 0554 (a comparison made by Benesch, 1955/73).[1] The lower right corner is mostly executed with a broad nib, perhaps a reed pen, not often encountered in Rembrandt’s work before around 1650, which bolsters the idea that the drawing may have been made near that time (on balance, these lines do appear to be integral to the rest of the drawing rather than a later addition, despite the somewhat spikier handling, presumably to suggest reeds growing at the edge of the pond in which the figures are partly reflected).
Three copies of the drawing are known, one in the Louvre (Paris, 1933, no.1235), one in Dresden (inv. C1473), which bears a false Gerbrand van den Eeckhout signature; the third, in Orléans (inv.1859), is in reverse and based on an aquatint made after the drawing by Claude Hoin.[2] Many other versions of the subject by Rembrandt pupils are known, including Benesch 0074a, Benesch 0502a, Benesch 0862 and Benesch 1025. There is also a painting now in Moscow by Pieter Lastman of 1620,[3] probably the ultimate model here, another by François Venant of 1630 (in the Fondation Custodia, Paris),[4] and a painting as well as a drawing by Ferdinand Bol – neither closely related to Benesch 0552.[5] But a school drawing in Frankfurt appears to have been derived from it.[6]
Condition: Slightly faded and considerably foxed; some lines have ‘bled’ into the paper, perhaps a consequence of an attempt to wash the drawing;[7] a dark grey patch lower left appears to be oxidised lead white.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645-50?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (L.1886; inv. RF 4666; MS inventory vol. 20, p. 263).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, 1, 175; Seidlitz, 1894, pp.122 and 125 (middle period; doubtful attribution; Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau?); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.693 (Return of the Prodigal Son – or possibly the Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau [as Seidlitz, 1894]); Wickhoff, 1906, no.7; Saxl, 1908, p.239; Demonts, 1920, p.5, repr. fig.5 (relates to St Petersburg painting [on which see above]); Bénédite and Demonts, 1921, repr. pl.3; Benesch, 1922.1, pp.35-36 (doubtful); Hofstede de Groot, 1923-24, p.105, repr.; Baudissin, 1925, p.191; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.155, repr.; Bredt, 1927, 1, p.103; Paris, 1933, no.1115 (c.1636-38); Benesch, 1935, p.36 (by Rembrandt, countering opinion of 1922); Exh. Paris, 1937, no.118; Exh. Brussels, 1937-38, no.61; Benesch, 3, 1955, no.552, repr. (c.1643-44; compares Benesch 0549 and landscape to Benesch 0523 and Benesch 0554; follows Demonts, 1920, in relating to St Petersburg painting); Benesch, 1960, no.44, repr.; Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, under no.245x; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.32, repr. (c.1641-44); Royalton-Kisch, 1991, p.45 (not by Rembrandt, perhaps by Bol, comparing Laban and the Sheepshearers, now in the Albertina [inv. 8809; Sumowski 252x] and Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well, also in Vienna [inv.8768; Sumowski 261x]); Exh. Paris, 2006, under no. 30, repr. fig.1 (cataloguing pupil’s copy in Dresden). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Léon Bonnat (L.) by whom presented to the present repository, 1919.
[1] Further comparisons with drawings catalogued by Sumowski as by Bol were made by the present writer in 1991 (see Literature above).
[2] For the Dresden copy, see Exh. Paris, 2006, no.30, repr.); An impression of the print is in the British Museum, London, inv. 1854,0513.269 – see (accessed 5 December 2021).
[3] In the Pushkin Museum – see Seifert, 2011, fig. 229 and Sluijter, 2015, fig. IIA-70.
[4] Sluijter, 2015, fig. IIA-71.
[5] The painting, formerly on the New York art market, is Sumowski, Gemälde, no.2004; the drawing is in the Rijksmuseum (Sumowski, Drawings, I, no.230x; inv. RP-T-1930-12 – see [accessed 5 December 2021).
[6] Hofstede de Groot, 325; Valentiner 156 (as noted by Benesch 1955/73).
[7] The Louvre website describes the drawing as a “dessin restauré” but without further remark – see (accessed 3 December 2021).
First posted 6 December 2021.

Benesch 0553
Subject: Vertumnus and Pomona (Ovid, Metamorphoses, xiv, 609-770)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with corrections in white bodycolour.
178 x 218.
COMMENTS: The story, which enabled artists to depict the contrast between youth and old age, was a popular one from the sixteenth century onwards: the God, Vertumnus, disguises himself as an old woman in order to enter the orchard cared for by Pomona and seduce her.
The two figures form almost a vignette on the page, with barely an indication of the background. The handling generally lacks Rembrandt’s customary economy – many of the outlines are gone over twice or more and became overly heavy, while the internal modelling includes a combination of fine parallel shading as well as firm lines, many of which seem coarse and fail to suggest the forms accurately. One notable feature in Vertumnus’ skirt are several lines that hook back or turn on themselves, creating a loop. This is also encountered in Benesch 0530 and the two drawings appear to be by the same hand, making an attribution to Ferdinand Bol likely, as has been previously suggested on different grounds (see Literature). But some hesitation is required, as the style of Bol’s more certain drawings offers fewer analogies.[1]
The subject is also represented in Benesch 0165, a drawing which is here also assigned to Bol, although at an earlier period. As has been remarked before, the figure of Vertumnus resembles the old woman in Rembrandt’s “Preciosa” etching of 1642 (Bartsch 120; NH 205),[2] which may have inspired it, and a date of c.1644 has been suggested on the basis of the inscription on Benesch 0556, which has also been given to Bol.[3] But a later date looks more probable, as is also here suggested for Benesch 0530, and for the same reasons: the stylistic character is so much broader than Bol’s documentary drawing of the Holy Family in an Interior of 1643, although some allowance should be made for the purpose of that drawing, which is a detailed preparation for an etching.[4] Benesch 0553 is a more exploratory sketch, but a later dating is also supported by the fact that of the many representations of the subject from the Rembrandt school, the closest resemblance is to a drawing of c.1650 attributed to Willem Drost (Fig.a).[5] The overall composition may have taken its cue from an etching by Antonio Tempesta,[6] and there are also some compositional similarities to an etching of the subject of around the same period as the drawing by Moses van Uyttenbroeck (Bartsch 32; Holl.48). There are also paintings of the subject attributed to Ferdinand Bol, one dated 1644 (now in Cincinnati),[7] but none of them relates closely to Benesch 0553.
Two reproductive etchings after the drawing are known, one by I. J. de Claussin, which is in reverse and bears the date 1638,[8] and another, anonymous print, probably of the nineteenth-century, which is in the same direction as the drawing and which carries the date 1640.[9] The reason for the addition of these (variant) dates is uncertain.
Condition: Generally good though foxed, mostly near the upper and lower edges; somewhat light struck.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645-50?
COLLECTION: USA Princeton, Princeton University Art Museum (inv.2007-19).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Henkel, 1929, repr. pl.13 (Vertumnus resembles old woman in the ‘Preciosa’ etching, Bartsch 120; NH 205; composition inspired by an etching of the subject by Tempesta, Bartsch 779); Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.260; Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.613, repr. (doubted by G. Falck and A.M. Hind); Benesch, 1936, p.32; Benesch, 1947, no.131, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.552, repr. (c.1643-44; ); Held, 1972, pp.32-41, repr. fig.2; Robinson, 1987, p.246; Christie’s catalogue, 2007 (see under Provenance; cat. entry by P. Schatborn; credits H. Bevers with suggesting Bol on basis of his Joseph Interpreting the Prisoners’ Dreams, Hamburg, inv.22412; Sumowski 101, as also Benesch 0556 and Benesch 0559; the plasticity of the angel in the latter close to the present drawing; the date of 1644 on the former perhaps suggestive for it); Sumowski 101; Record of the Princeton University Art Museum, 67, 2008, pp.96-119 and 99, repr.; Sluijter, 2015, p.335, repr. (Rembrandt; notes doubts of Schatborn and Bevers in 2007 Christie’s cat.; relates to treatments of same subject by Backer, Bol and Salomon Savery – Backer may have been first, then Savery, who reacted to the drawing; the Bol responds to the Backer [rather speculative]; quotes Sluijter, 2000, pp.69-74). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Sir Tomkyns Hilgrove Turner (c.1766-1843), according to an inscription on the mount;[9] H. Cox, according to an inscription on the mount; I.Q. van Regteren Altena; F. Koenigs (his second 2nd collection, no mark); sold by his heirs, New York, Christie’s, 25 January, 2007, lot 4 (“attributed to Ferdinand Bol”) bt for $144,000 by the present repository (Museum purchase, Laura P. Hall Memorial Fund and Fowler McCormick, Class of 1921, Fund).
[1] See the 2007 Christie’s catalogue entry, summarised in Literature above. In 2006 Peter Schatborn suggested to me that the drawing might be by Govert Flinck. The almost decorative shading, especially in and near the basket, does indeed resemble his work, but overall the style does not conform with Flinck’s.
[2] As noted by Henkel, 1927. See also the sketches of Vertumnus an Pomona in Benesch 0219.
[3] As n.1.
[4] Inv.1836,0811.337, Sumowski 95. See .
[5] Sold Berlin, Bassenge, 29 November etc., 2012 Lot 6296, repr..
[6] Bartsch 779, as suggested by Henkel, 1927 – see Literature.
[7] Inv. 1957.212; Sumowski, Gem. I, no.84, repr., with references to two further versions by Bol. There is also a Lastman-esque painting of 1617 by Jan Tengnagel, now in the Rembrandt House, Amsterdam, on loan from the Rijksmuseum (inv.SK-A-4699)
[8] An impression is in the British Museum – see: (accessed 8 December 2021).
[9] Encountered at but without further details (accessed 8 December 2021).
[10] Famous for bringing the Rosetta Stone from Egypt to England in 1801.
First posted 10 December 2021.

Benesch 0554
Subject: The Man of Gibeah Offers Hospitality to the Levite and his Concubine (Judges, XIX, 17-20)
Verso: Blank (now laid down); see Inscriptions.
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, touched with white (e.g. by the woman’s breast) on paper prepared light brown. The ink varies in tone, being somewhat darker in the upper half of the woman and in a correction made to the hat of the man of Gibeah. Past writers, including Benesch, have read into this the possibility that the drawing was reworked several years later, but the style of the penwork argues against the supposition. The artist may simply have begun a new supply of ink and sharpened his nib for the final details. Inscribed lower edge towards the left (very faded and indistinct, but not a signature): “Rembrandt”; verso, in graphite: “39” [in a circle] an in pen and black ink, the old-style of the inventory number “Oo.9-67”
180 x 247. Watermark: crowned eagle with a small Basel crozier in the centre; chain lines: 19/23h.
COMMENTS: The subject is from the Old Testament: an old man, returning from working in the fields, offers the Levite and his concubine lodgings for the night at his house in Gibeah. The presence of the child, not mentioned in the Bible, caused the drawing to be identified wrongly as the “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”. Rarely illustrated except by Rembrandt and artists in his circle, the subject was treated several times by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, whose painting in Berlin is dated 1645. Jan Victors also produced a painting in 1644, which is now in Toronto, and other painted versions.[1] None of these relate more than generically to Benesch 0554.
The drawing, a finely balanced composition, drawn for the most part with considerable fluidity and confidence, appears to be by the same hand as Benesch 0524 (qv), as has been noted. Like that drawing, it is here retained under Rembrandt’s name at all, only with strongest reservations and for the same reasons: the analogies with the authentic drawings of the 1640s listed in that entry are not persuasive. In addition, many of the drawings to which it has been compared by earlier writers have now been assigned to Rembrandt’s school and in particular to Ferdinand Bol (see Literature below). Characteristic of Bol is the loose grip of the lines on the forms, the pedestrian or mechanical quality of the parallel shading, the free but rather rudimentary treatment of the landscape, the somewhat even application of the wash in the background (though the wash applied to the horse’s neck and head, which clarifies the modelling and the fall of the light, is worthy of Rembrandt) and the solidly outlined tufts of foliage – almost resembling coral – in the foreground (cf. Benesch 0167 and Benesch 0537). The imprecise, calligraphic flourish at the lower right also seems more compatible with Bol than with Rembrandt. Yet the connections with Bol’s best authenticated works as a draughtsman are not significantly closer than with Rembrandt’s. The pose of the concubine resembles that of the Virgin in Bol’s painting of the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, of 1644, now in Dresden.[2] Yet Bol’s study for this figure in the Louvre (Benesch 0402, Sumowski 96) is not compatible in style. Neither does a comparison with the Virgin in Bol’s drawing of the Holy Family, now in the British
Museum,[3] lend support to an attribution to him of the present sheet (even after allowing for that drawing’s function as a detailed study for an etching).
It could be that the drawing was inspired by a lost work by Rembrandt, a suggestion prompted not only by the fine balance of the elements of the composition, but also by moments in the handling, such as the treatment of the vaguely delineated space between the two men, which resembles the handling of the figure on the extreme right of the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736).
Some writers have noted the slightly darker ink in the upper half of the woman and in the hat of the farmworker, but see under Medium above.
A perhaps somewhat later drawing of the subject is at Frankfurt (Benesch 0614). The composition is similar but in reverse, and with the Man of Gibeah seen from behind. Another, by Lambert Doomer, is in the Albertina, Vienna (Sumowski 460x; Inv. 9550).
A copy of the British Museum’s drawing was formerly in the P. Geismar collection (Fig.a).[4]
Condition: Generally good; slight foxing, upper right.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? Rembrandt??
Date: 1642-1646?
COLLECTION: GB London, British Museum (Payne Knight Bequest; inv. Oo,9.67)
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Bürger, 1858, p.400 (perhaps for a “Christ and the Samaritan Woman”); Blanc, II, 1861, pp.452-3 (“Abraham dismissing Hagar”); Michel, 1893, p.581 (“Halte de Voyageurs [Fuite en Egypte?]”); Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 (doubtful attribution; subject probably Old Testament, not “Flight into Egypt”); Lippmann, I, no.107; Exh. London, 1899, no.A32 (“Rest on the Flight into Egypt”);Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.XXVIII; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.881 (c.1645); Saxl, 1908, p.233 (c.1641; subject uncertain; seated woman perhaps the model seen in Dresden painting of “Manoah”, Bredius 509; Corpus C83); Kleinmann, IV, no.20; Wurzbach, 1910, p.417 (“Return of Holy Family from Egypt”); London, 1915, no.39 (c.1635-40, or later? “Rest on the Flight into Egypt”; rejects Seidlitz’s doubts, also about the subject); Veth, 1915, p.279, detail repr. pl.103, fig.11 (early 1640s); Valentiner, I, 1925, no.340, repr. (c.1645; notes ‘various’ copies but not individually; compares drawings of same subject – still thought to be “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” – in Koenigs Coll., Valentiner 338 [not in Benesch] and Frankfurt, Benesch 0614); Hell, 1930, p.21 (simplified foreground anticipates drawings of early 1650s); Paris, 1933, p.42, under no.1233 (compares Rembrandt school Louvre drawing of same subject, which he identifies on basis of Frankfurt drawing, Benesch 0614, also comparing paintings by Eeckhout in Moscow and Berlin, the latter of 1645, and other contemporary representations; [see n.1]); Benesch, 1935, p.36 (c.1642-3; compares to Louvre drawings, “David taking leave of Jonathan”, Benesch 552, and “Study for the Hundred Guilder Print”, Benesch 0543; only problematic if seen in context of “Manoah” at Aschaffenburg, Benesch 0853 [as retouched by R.; Sumowski 205x as Bol]); Exh. London, 1938, no.39 (c.1635-40 or later); Von Alten, 1947, no.41, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.554, repr. fig.684/723 (c.1644, but with later additions; compares Benesch 0688; notes later version in Frankfurt, Benesch 0614; compares Amsterdam drawing, “Joseph’s Brethren requesting Benjamin”, Benesch 0541, and three drawings in Paris, two as in 1935, and “Jacob’s Dream”, Benesch 0555 [Sumowski 248x as Bol]; the woman compared to Louvre “Hagar weeping”, Benesch 0602); Exh. London, 1956, p.24, no.10 (follows Benesch); Drost, 1957, p.207 (compares foreground to Elsheimer); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (quotes Paris, 1933, which was omitted by Benesch); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (notes ex-Sedelmeyer copy); Scheidig, 1962, no.87, repr.; Slive, 1965, 1, no.109, repr. (c.1645); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.5 (quotes Benesch); Schulz, 1972, p.77 (c.1644; influence on Doomer’s drawing of the subject in Vienna [Sumowski 460x]); Schulz, 1974, p.37 (as in 1972); Sumowski, II, 1979, p.984, under no.460x (quotes Schulz, 1972 and 1974; drawing perhaps owned by Doomer); Exh. Amsterdam-Groningen, 1983, p.220, under no.64 (rare subject); Manuth, 1987, pp.14-15 and 19, repr. fig.3 (subject uncertain, because of the child); Exh. London, 1992, no.42, repr. in colour (c.1642-46; close to Bol); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.466 (by Bol?); Schatborn, 1994, p.22 (can indeed be related to Bol, as suggested in Exh. London, 1992); Giltaij, 1995, p.100 (by a follower); 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. Frankfurt, 2000, p.146, under no. 61, repr. fig.1 (compares later version in Frankfurt, Benesch 614). London, 2010 (online), no.76, repr. (“attributed to Rembrandt”; c.1642-46). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Bequeathed to the present repository by Richard Payne Knight, 1824 (as of “Abraham and Hagar”).
[1] See Paris, 1933, p.42, where Lugt recorded other Rembrandt circle versions by Van den Eeckhout, Flinck, Van Noordt, Victors, Backer and Doomer (see also under Literature, and Pigler, 1956, 1, p.128 and Schulz, 1974, pp.45-6). Only the paintings mentioned above are actually dated in the 1640s, however (they are repr. Sumowski, ‘Gemälde’, II, no.402 and IV, no.1734, respectively, with further literature; other versions include two more by Van den Eeckhout, Sumowski, loc. cit., no.426 of 1658, now in Moscow, and Sumowski 425, which is undated (formerly in the E. Wolf collection), and two by Victors one of c.1645, Sumowski 2465, and an undated work, Sumowski 1740, now in Dublin). Drawings by or attributed to Eeckhout are in Copenhagen (Sumowski 611, the study for his 1645 painting) and Moscow (repr. Romanov, 1933, fig.2 and Sadkov, 2001, no.475). Another school drawing was repr. as by Rembrandt by Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.338, when in the Koenigs collection, Haarlem. For an iconographical discussion, see Manuth, 1987.
[2] Sumowski, Gemälde, 1, no.81, repr..
[3] Inv.1836,0811.337, Sumowski 95. See .
[4] Sold Paris, Drouot, 14 November, 1928, lot 109, repr. in colour; with De Bayser, Paris, 2014 (to whom I am grateful for the illustration). See Sumowski, 1961, p. 11. Presumably the same copy was noted (by Hind in a MS catalogue annotation, according to notes by C. White in Museum’s files; the annotation cannot now be located) as in the collection of Max Bine, Paris, in 1929, and as having the marks of Richardson and Hudson, which also appear on the ex-Geismar drawing.
First posted 13 December 2021 (based on the entry in London, 2010 [online], no.76).

Benesch 0555
Subject: Jacob’s Dream (Genesis 28, 10-22)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash. Inscribed lower right in pen and brown ink: “44 / 2 / doopt [?]”
178 x 196. Watermark: Foolscap with 5 points on the collar.
COMMENTS: One of a group of drawings of the same subject (Benesch 0555 and Benesch 0557-58), the first two of which long attracted admiration before being reattributed to Rembrandt’s pupils in the twentieth century.
In the present case, several aspects of the drawing give grounds for concern as Rembrandt, including (a) the hesitant delineation of the two putti above, (b) the lack of ‘grip’ on the forms elsewhere, for example in the legs of Jacob and his staff, (c) the ineffective facial characterisation of the angel, albeit in profil perdu, (d) the repeatedly incomplete and uncharacteristic hands and (e) the shading, especially below, where the timidity seen in much of the drawing is at its most acute. On the other hand, the drawing has a moment of considerable allure in the face of Jacob, whose slumbering seems almost to become audible! There is also a connection – though almost in reverse – with the flying putto one of Rembrandt’s most celebrated paintings, The Holy Family of 1645, now in St Petersburg (see Fig.a. Bredius 570; Wetering 198).[1]
Overall, the drawing belongs among those generally ascribed to Ferdinand Bol, along with Benesch 0524, Benesch 0554, in which the shading mentioned at (e) above is especially similar, Benesch 0569 (which is, however, accepted as Rembrandt in Schatborn, 2019, no.72) and Benesch 0626. Also close is the version of the subject now in the Louvre, Benesch 0557 (qv), which was the inspiration for Benesch 0558. As with these, it is difficult to find close analogies with Bol’s most certain, ‘documentary’ works (see Figs.b-c), but attention has been drawn to similarities with drawings usually given to him, such as his Joseph Interpreting the Prisoners’ Dreams (Fig.d; Hamburg; Sumowski 101; note especially the detail of the raised left hands of the central figures) and Hannah and Eli (formerly Valentiner collection; Sumowski 247x).[2] Bol also treated the subject in paintings, although his drawing in Besancon (Fig.c) related to his painting of c.1642 in Dresden is so far removed in style from those under consideration here[3] that it seems justified to include the drawing, albeit with several question-marks, in the “attributed to Rembrandt” section of this catalogue – a view bolstered to some degree by the inscription (on which see further below).
The enigmatic inscription resembles Rembrandt’s handwriting to a considerable extent, although some commentators have dismissed it as by another hand.[4] Illustrated here (Fig.d) are a number of comparisons, with an explanatory caption, which suggest that Rembrandt could well have written it, although there are some analogies (and a difference in the break near the top left of each digit) with the “44” written as part of the date 1644 at the top right of Benesch 0556, a drawing that is more distantly related to Bol in style overall (and which is attributed to the “Carel Fabritius” group here); and the meaning of the inscription is obscure. Not unreasonably, the “44” is sometimes taken as a date, in which case (by no means certainly) the “2” might refer to February; but the final word, perhaps “doopt” or “doort”, only adds to the conundrum.[5] Bol was an independent artist by 1644 and the idea that Rembrandt wrote on one of the former’s drawings can only give encouragement to those who would wish to re-assess the drawing as an autograph work by Rembrandt, a view that the compiler understands but does not share. But given the stylistic and iconographic connections noted above, the date 1644 is retained here – like the attribution – with a question-mark.
Condition: Generally good; some discolouration and slight spotting.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? / Rembrandt???
Date: 1644?
COLLECTION: F Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (L.829; inv. 34525).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Paris, 1879, no.352; Chennevières, 1880, p.26; Dutuit, 4, 1885, p.94; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.493; Société de reproduction des dessins de maîtres, 4, 1912, pl.18; Lavallée, 1917, p.280; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.73, repr. (1638-40; relates putti to those in Holy Family, St Petersburg, 1645 [Bredius 570; Wetering 198]; doubtful according to Falck); Benesch, 1935, p.36 (1642-43); Weski [1942], 1944, p.101 (doubtful); Paris, 1950, no.478 (Rembrandt – a weak work of c.1638-40, or by Bol, resembling Hamburg drawing [here Fig.c]); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.555, repr. fig.688/727 (1644, Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 1955, no.56; Benesch, 1956, p.202; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (probably Bol; inscription by a collector); Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (Bol); Rotermund, 1963, repr. pl.65 (Rembrandt); Tümpel, 1968, p.449 (doubtful as Rembrandt); Benesch, 1970, p.210; Tsurutani, 1974, App.2, no.7 (Bol or Van den Eeckhout); Exh. Nice, 1975, no.12, repr.; Exh. London 1976, no.53 (Rembrandt); Sumowski, Drawings, 1, 1979, no.248x (Bol, later 1640s; inscription as Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961; compares Joseph in Prison, Hamburg, Sumowski 101; and Hannah and Eli, formerly Valentiner collection, Sumowski 247x); Exh. Paris-Malibu-Hamburg, 1981-82, no.57; Exh. Paris, 1984, no.161 (Bol); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, under no.30 (Bol); Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997-98, p.244, repr. fig.44a (Bol); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, under no.99; Leja, 2004, pp.163-64 and 197-98, repr. pl.271 (Bol); New York, 2006, under no.231 (Bol); Hamburg, 2011, I, under no.122 (Bol); Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2012-14, no.11, repr. (Bol); Exh. Amsterdam, 2017-18, (Bol). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Frans van den Zande; his sale, Paris, Guichardot, 30 April, 1855 and following days, lot 3040 (Rembrandt), F.150; Hippolyte Dreux (cf. L.695); his sale, Paris, Clément, 3-4 February, 1870, lot 87, bt Armand, F.185; Alfred Armand (cf. L.22), by whom presented to Prosper Valton, by whose widow given to the present repository in 1908.
[1] As pointed out by Valentiner, 1925 (see Literature).
[2] By Sumowski, Drawings, 1979 (see Literature).
[3] For the painting, see Sumowski, Gemälde, I, no.80, repr.; for the drawing, Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, no.92, repr. (and online at:
48565/63t2b794gvjl [accessed 24 December 2021]).
[4] Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961; Sumowski, loc. cit. (see Literature).
[5] Bol’s native city, Dordrecht, is sometimes referred to as Dort or Doort, but again, any connection with this place is highly speculative. Bol’s handwriting is only known from his signatures, which do not much resemble the inscription here.
First posted 26 December 2021.

Benesch 0556
Subject: The Good Samaritan Tending to the Wounded Man (Luke, 10, 25-37)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash; some scraping-out (in the figures on the bridge). Inscribed in pen and brown ink top right: “1644” and lower left: “Rembrand f”; lower right in black chalk or graphite (much erased): “ R[…]mbrand”
158 x 222. Watermark: foolscap with 5-pointed collar (Similar to Hinterding, p.122, F.c.a, of c.1632 [see further under n.3 below]).
COMMENTS: Christ’s celebrated parable was frequently depicted by Rembrandt and his pupils in painting, prints and drawings (cf. Benesch 0144A, which depicts the same moment in the story). The present composition, though its origins are traceable to versions by Rembrandt’s teacher, Pieter Lastman (see the illustration under Benesch 0144A), and Rembrandt’s painting and etching of 1630/1633 which show the arrival at the inn (Bredius 545; Wetering 42; the etching Bartsch 90; NH 116), may depend on a somewhat later work: the placement of the figures has a more than passing resemblance to a number of drawings from around 1650 or later. One example of high quality, Benesch 0945, has recently been assigned to Willem Drost.[1] But the inspiration may have been drawn from an earlier design by Rembrandt, now unknown, the existence of which might already be attested by Benesch 0144A.
The drawing has been assigned to Ferdinand Bol[2] and in the figures the style approaches several works currently attributed to him, including Benesch 0546 and Benesch 0548. Characteristic is a loose description of the details and rather slack, if bold lines in the periphery, as we see here in the landscape, especially in the left background. But overall, to assign the drawing to the same artist overlooks discrepancies in the rougher touch here and the almost wild bravado in the separation of the darker edge to the left, perhaps formed by rock or vegetation. Also unlike Bol are the jagged and forceful descriptions of both the vegetation in the lower left corner and the foliage of the tree to the right.
In Fig.a, Bol’s ‘documentary’ drawing, Benesch 0167 (a study for his painting of Elijah Sleeping Beneath a Tree) is juxtaposed with a detail of the centre of Benesch 0556, and the discrepancies are clear – as they are in any number of comparisons with his work. Fig.b includes a slightly later drawing by Bol (on the right) together with two other composition studies that are usually accepted as his work, and the disparities of style further suggest that Bol was not responsible for the present drawing.
The more abstract and calligraphic qualities of Benesch 0556 are more commensurate with some of the drawings now attributed (with hesitation) to Carel Fabritius – the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500). For example, the somewhat free outlining of the figures, with pockets of rather hard hatching in various directions within them, seem closer to Benesch 0515 and Benesch 0545 (see Fig.c); while the landscape elements, from the broad sweep of the rockface to the left to the somewhat hard description of the foliage at the lower left and the trees on the left and the right of the figure group, are analogous to what is found in Benesch 0488, Benesch 0497A-0498 and Benesch 0505, in which an almost wild approach was already noted (see Figs.d-e). For similar reasons, Benesch 0559 (qv) also seems to belong to the same group. If forming part of the “Carel Fabritius” group, the drawing is looser than most of the drawings described under that rubric and for this reason the attribution is here designated with an extra question-mark; but that it is closer to these works than to drawings by Bol seems clear. The attribution also makes the date of 1644, written at the top right, somewhat more plausible, although like Benesch 0017, the date could refer to the date of its putative model rather than the date of the drawing itself, the breadth of which strongly suggest a later period (see further under Benesch 0559; for more information on the handwriting of the date, see under Benesch 0555 and Fig.d there).[3]
In the first paragraph, the connection of the design with Rembrandt is noted, and it is possible that Benesch 0556 may be based on a lost work by him. This might explain both the drawing’s originality, in the grouping of the figures beneath the horse and in the ultra-low viewpoint,[4] as well as its slightly anomalous stylistic characteristics among drawings by Rembrandt’s pupils – as also within the “Carel Fabritius” group.
Condition: Generally good; some staining and foxmarks.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius??
Date: 1652-55? (or 1644??).
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin (inv.4175).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Eisenmann, 1890, 1, no.14; Amtliche Berichte, 21, 1900, col.xxv; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.61 (dated 1644); Berlin, 1910, no.277 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.49 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Seidlitz, 1917, p.249 (date not autograph [i.e., date not written be Rembrandt]); Bredt, 1921, pp.48 and 133; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.374, repr. (date uncertain); Berlin, 1930, p.226, inv.4175 (date also written by Rembrandt); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.266; Lugt, 1931, p.58; Benesch, 1935, p.36; Weski, 1942, pp.123, 129 and 162; Benesch, 1947, under no.132 (compares Benesch 0559); Paris, 1950, under no.478 (attribution problematic; date written by same hand as Paris sheet [Benesch 0555]); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.556, repr. (1644; date autograph; relates date to Benesch 0815; style relates to Benesch 0553, Benesch 0555, Benesch 0557 and Benesch 0559); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.90 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Sumowski, 1958, under no.38; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.52 (inscribed date not written by the same hand as on Benesch 0555); Benesch, 1963, under no.28 (compared with Benesch 144A of same subject); Rotermund, 1963, p.183, no.188, repr. (date written by Rembrandt); Exh. Berlin, 1968, no.21 (date written by Rembrandt); Exh. Berlin, 1970, no.80, repr. (influenced by Lastman print, Hollstein 2, and Dürer’s St Eustace, Bartsch 57); Bernhard, 1976, no.332 (date written by Rembrandt); Exh. New York, 1995-96, p.76, repr. fig.93 (Rembrandt; repr. with other versions by Rembrandt and pupils); Exh. Dresden, 2004, under no.67 (school of Rembrandt; 1640s); Berlin, 2006, pp.198-99 (Bol. 1644); Bevers, 2007, p.122; Exh. Paris, 2007, p.126 (Bol); Exh. Paris-Ajaccio, 2021-14, under no.11 (Bol); Berlin, 2018, no.9, repr. (Bol; Copy after Rembrandt? Resembles C. Bisschop, repr. in same cat, p.27 top left; the inscribed 1644 compared with Benesch 0555 and Benesch 0815, style with Benesch 0555. [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: G.E. Habich (L.862); his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 27 April, 1899 and following days, lot 535, bt Amster and Ruthardt for the present repository.[5]
[1] By Bevers in Berlin, 2018, no.38. This and seven other school versions are illustrated in Exh. New York, 1995-96, pp.75-77, figs.92-99.
[2] Bevers, in Berlin, 2018, no.9. My notes reveal this idea first occurred to me in 1987, followed later by the idea that it might be by Bol but after Rembrandt.
[3] Although Hinterding dates the watermark c.1632, similar (but not identical) examples also appear later, for example, in three Rembrandt school drawings in the British Museum of around 1645-52, see London, 2010 (online) nos. 102 (inv. Oo,9.101), 105 (1895,0915.1254), 112 (Oo,10.123) and Hoogstraten 3 (1895,0915.1203).
[4] See also the Rembrandt school version in the Harvard University Art Museums illustrated under Benesch 0129.
[5] Benesch and other writers state that the drawing formed part of the Von Beckerath collection, but Bevers does not include this in Berlin, 2018, no.9.
First posted 2 January 2022.

Benesch 0557
Subject: Jacob’s Dream (Genesis 28, 10-22)
Verso: Laid down.
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, with some white bodycolour. Inscribed in black chalk, lower right: “R 13”
249 x 207.
COMMENTS: Despite its many alluring qualities, for more than a century the drawing has often been doubted as by Rembrandt (see Literature below) and there are two overriding reasons for this: the first is the evenness of the touch, with few variations in the pressure on the pen and the general lack of decisiveness, almost as if the draughtsman had an etched model before him. This despite the pentimento in the position of the satchel (which will form an element in the discussion of Benesch 0558, a drawing that may be based on this one). One might add that the touch is overly delicate for Rembrandt, with more precision than suggestion. Secondly, like the penwork, the wash, too, is applied with a generally undifferentiated touch, so that while it adds tone it does little or nothing to enhance the modelling of the forms. Indeed, the cloud or bluff of rock on the left is merged by the wash into the arm of the nearer angel. While there is a refinement of detail, especially in the sleeping Jacob, the expressions of the angels appear vacuous and the interrelationships of the figures and between the figures and their surroundings, lack structure or “houding”, almost as if three motifs – the angels, the sleeping Jacob, and the tree on the right, had been cut and pasted together.
To exemplify this, the drawing is here illustrated alongside the documentary, signed and dated drawing of 1641 of Two Orientals in Discussion (Fig.a), and the comparison clarifies the many discrepancies of style – not least, the more delicate penwork in Benesch 0557 and the more uniform, less exploratory touch. Rembrandt’s sketch of actors, Benesch 0230 of the late 1630s, where an equally fine pen was employed, comes closer, but again diverges in its suggestive and uneven finish, reticence, clarity of purpose and fuller characterisations (Fig.b). Compare also Benesch 0606, a drawing by Rembrandt of the same type and period. On the other hand, the analogies with Ferdinand Bol, for example in his drawing of the same subject (Fig.c; Benesch 0555), are considerably closer, even if the quality is here more refined. But the similarities in the angels especially, allow the connection to be made, but once more, only with considerable hesitation. Also close in some respects is Bol’s (in this catalogue much illustrated) drawing in the Rijksmuseum of Hagar and the Angel on the Road to Shur, in which the angel’s wing appears especially similar (see Fig.d).
In summary, there are several reasons to doubt that the drawing is by Rembrandt and to associate it with Bol. However, it has to be conceded that the overall elegance and refinement of the penwork and the convincing portrayal of the sleeping Jacob cannot be closely parallelled in Bol’s work and force the door to an attribution to Rembrandt be left ajar: could he have experimented in the production of a study with little variation in the touch? Could he have sought to produce a more pictorial completeness in a drawing than usual? On balance these speculations seem unlikely, but the surmises justify the inclusion of this impressive drawing, like Benesch 0555, in the “attributed to Rembrandt” section of this catalogue, albeit with three cautionary question-marks.
An etching after the drawing was made by the Comte de Caylus.[1] Other Rembrandt or Rembrandt school drawings of the subject, apart from Benesch 0555, include Benesch 0558 (which depends on Benesch 0557, or on a common model), and later works such as Benesch 0996, Benesch 1381, a version in the Morgan Library (inv. I, 187; New York, 2006, no.231) and a sheet in Washington (inv. 1942.9.668; Valentiner, no.75).
Condition: Generally good; some areas of discolouration; some spotting (especially at upper right).
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? / Rembrandt???
Date: 1640-45.
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (inv. 22881; formerly NIII8617 and MA8137; MS inventory, vol. 9, p. 390).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Morel d’Arleux MS inventory of 1812, no.8137; Michel, 1892, repr. p.429; Seidlitz, 1894, p.122; Lippmann, 1, 155; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.591 (c.1635); Saxl, 1908, p.237 (c.1655; Titus the model for Jacob; relates angel to Hermitage painting, Abraham and the Angels, inv. ГЭ-731 [now attributed to Jan Victors: see accessed 4 January 2022]); Alinari photographs, 7th series, pl.326; Hofstede de Groot, 1910, 1, pp.22-23; Neumann, 1918, no.62, repr. (by a pupil); Kleinmann, 5, 27; Bredt, 1921, p.31; Benesch, 1922, pp.35-36; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.72, repr. (c.1638-40); Van Dyke, 1927, p.52 (by Bol); Fierens, 1929, repr. pl.18; Paris, 1933, no.1111 (c.1638-1642; relates to Rotterdam version [Benesch 0558]); Benesch, 1935, p.36; Graul, 1941, p.46, repr. fig.89; Rosenberg, 1948, p.213, repr. fig.276; Paris, 1950 under no.478; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.557, repr. fig.686/726 (c.1644; compares Benesch 0556, Benesch 0559 and also Benesch 0549); Slive, 1965, no.163; Exh. Paris, 1967.1, no.192; Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.70; Rotermund, 1969, no.42, repr.; Rotterdam, 1969, pp.27 and 132; Turin, 1976, under no.28; Sumowski, Drawings, I, 1979, under no.248x; Exh. Rotterdam, 1988, under no.138, repr. fig.a (doubtful as Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.30, repr. (c.1641-45; Benesch 0558 derived from this; compares 1645 etching of Abraham with his Son, Bartsch 34; NH 224); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.135 (on balance more likely by Bol, as more comparable to Benesch 0555 and to Louvre drawing of Mercury, Argus and Io, inv. RF29040, HdG 781, than to the documentary drawing, Benesch 0500a). Starcky, 1993, p.208 (provenance: bought by Le Noir at Mariette sale for 180 livres, together with Benesch 0018, Benesch 0987, HdG 608 and 649, as well as a landscape by Lievens, Paris, 1933, no.420); Exh. Dresden, 2004, under no.74, repr. fig.a (comparing sleeping Jacob to a school drawing in Dresden, Benesch C066). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Pierre-Jean Mariette (L.1852 and with his mount); his sale, Paris, 15 November 1775 and following days, part of lot 979, bt Le Noir for the French Royal Collection (nationalised at the Revolution of 1789); marks of the Museum Commission (L.1899) and of the Conservatoire (L.2207).[1]
[1] From the Louvre website: Inventaire du Musée Napoléon. Dessins. Vol.6, p.1037, chap.: Ecole hollandaise, Carton 83. (…) Numéro: 8137. Nom du maître: Rembrandt. Numéro d’ordre dans l’oeuvre du maître : 1er. Désignation des sujets: La Vision de Jacob. Dessin à la plume et légèrement lavé. Dimensions : H. 25 x L. 20,5cm. Origine: Collections ancienne et de Mariette. Emplacement actuel: Idem [[ Calcographie du Musée Napoléon ]]. Signe de recollement : [Vu] [[au crayon]] [[trait oblique / au crayon / sous le n° Morel d’Arleux]] [[signe en forme de croix / au crayon / à gauche du n° Morel d’Arleux]]. Cote : 1DD38 ( [accessed 4 January 2022]).
[1] Bartsch, Appendix, no.33; Gersaint, no.392.
First posted 6 January 2022.

Benesch 0558
Subject: Jacob’s Dream (Genesis 28, 10-22)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, with some white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
193 x 194 (top corners trimmed away). Watermark: Cross of Lorraine (cf. Voorn, no.24 [1640]).
COMMENTS: The drawing forms part of the trio depicting the same subject in a comparable way, along with Benesch 0555 and Benesch 0557 (qqv). Indeed, its relationship in composition with Benesch 0557 is so close, not least in replicating the first and subsequently erased position of the satchel in that drawing, that it could be based on the latter (or a common model, now unknown) – see Fig.a.
In style, however, it is distinct: while it shares a similarly even touch – to the degree that the architectural motif at the lower left is given equal weight to the foreground – the more abstract, almost dancing lines in the figures suggest that another hand was responsible for it, quite probably a later one. Although a similar approach is found in parts of Benesch 0527, the less consistent grasp of the forms here, the more gestural, less refined penmanship, as well as the treatment of the tree-trunk and foliage on the right (which may depend on Rembrandt’s etching of St Jerome Beside a Pollard Willow of 1648, Bartsch 103; NH 244), suggest the 1650s.[1] This approach is not encountered in Rembrandt until the later 1640s, as in the sketch of Peter’s Vision of the Unclean Beasts, Benesch 1039, but only matures in a comparable way in the 1650s, persisting into his last decade, for example, in the documentary study for the Jewish Bride, Benesch 0988 of c.1662. As mentioned in n.1 below, the watermark is found in a similar form in drawings of the 1650s, explaining further why the drawing is here assigned to around 1650-55.
Condition: Possibly trimmed from a more upright sheet; some stains; and some of the brown wash appears to have been applied accidentally.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt.
Date: 1650-55?.
COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Koenigs Collection; inv.R 121).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Paris, 1933, p.2, under no.1111 (notes connection with Benesch 0557); Exh. Braunschweig, 1948, no.28; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.558, repr. fig.687/725 (relates so closely to Benesch 0557 that likely by Rembrandt; may have been drawn before it – relates to ‘earlier’ works, Benesch 0522; Benesch 0527; Benesch 0540 and Benesch 0550; notes the position of the bag follows the earlier version in Benesch 0557); Benesch, 1956, p.202; Exh. Vienna, 1956, no.67; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.58, repr. fig.17 (figure upper left a prophet); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.5; Rotterdam, 1969, p.27, repr. fig.32 (attribution to Rembrandt not wholly convincing); Benesch, 1970, p.210; Exh. Paris, 1970, under no.194; Rotterdam, 1988, no.138, repr. (1640-50, School of Rembrandt; compares Benesch 0557; presumably a copy after Rembrandt or Bol; not a study for the latter’s painting in Dresden). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: I.W. Böhler (dealer); Franz Koenigs (L.1023a applied on a surviving fragment of the old mat); D.G. van Beuningen, by whom presented to the Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 1940.
First posted 10 January 2022.
[1] The presence of a Cross of Lorraine watermark, dated by Voorn to c.1640, might suggest otherwise. But a similar mark is also found, for example, on the documentary drawing of the Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deyman of 1656 (Benesch 1187) and on a copy in the British Museum (inv. 1900,0411.5) after Benesch 0902 (the Flight into Egypt now in Berlin), another work of the 1650s (see Berlin, 2006, no.45, where dated c.1652).
First posted 10 January 2022.

Benesch 0559
Subject: Tobias Frightened by the Fish, with the Angel (Tobit, 6, 1-6)
Medium: Pen (including some reed pen) and brown ink with brown wash and some white heightening.
205 x 274, including a horizontal strip below, around 22mm in height.
COMMENTS: For drawings representing the story of Tobit, see under Benesch 0492.
This appears to be by the same hand as Benesch 0556 (qv): they both share a free, almost wildly expressive but somewhat incoherent style, which in many respects approaches some drawings that belong in the “Carel Fabritius” group (described under Benesch 0500). Compare, for example, Benesch 0480a (the strong foreground horizontals), Benesch 0488 and Benesch 0497A (the bold repoussoir on the left) and Benesch 0513 (in which the awakening disciple resembles the Tobias here).
The exceptionally spirited handling of the periphery as well as the unwieldy style generally, which – apart from the figures – verges on the loss of control, are here exhibited to a heightened degree. Like Benesch 0556, it has been attributed to Ferdinand Bold, but I style it diverges sufficiently from Ferdinand Bol’s documented work at any period to an extent that demands a re-examination of this current attribution.[1] There is a problem here: Bol has often been used as a receptacle for drawings deemed to be too loose for Rembrandt while retaining a modicum of his quality. Yet Bol’s style in his documentary drawings is never so marked in its differentiations of pressure on the pen or by such an extreme sprezzatura. Even at its broadest, the touch is more carefully judged and even-tempered, and lacks the tempestuous touch to be observed here (see Fig.a and the caption below).
While the broad handling at the sides of the sheet is comparable to the “Fabritius” images that provide part of the argument for this connection with him (see Fig.b), the exceptional breadth of drawing throughout (apart from the fully described character and modelling of the Angel Gabriel) comes somewhat closer to Benesch 0503, with the stylistic effect resembling the lay-in of a rapidly executed oil-sketch made with the brush, although the boldest and thickest lines in both these drawings must have been made with a heavily charged reed pen.
Another comparison that has already been made is with a drawing in Berlin of the Sacrifice of Isaac (see Fig.c).[2] its landscape background strongly suggests, in the trees to the right and the foliage at the lower left that it also belongs in the “Carel Fabritius” group (cf. again Fig.b), while the handling of the more distant background, especially in the treatment of the trees, seems close to Benesch 0559.
Like many of these drawings, it seems reasonable to place the Benesch 0559 in the 1650s, near the end of Fabritius’ career in 1654. This date is underpinned by a comparison between the loose handling and the free (though more restrained) style of Rembrandt’s documentary drawing of St Jerome in an Italian Landscape of c.1653 (Fig.d; Benesch 0886).
In summary, there seem to be sufficient reasons to date the drawing in the 1650s and to associate it with the “Carel Fabritius” group rather than with Bol, whose drawings, although they can be loose, never appear quite as wild and energetic as here or in Benesch 0556, at least in his most securely documented drawings – and even in his less securely attributed ones (see Fig.e). But the association with this group must remain more tentative than usual, lying stylistically further from its core and more at its periphery; it could be that the two Berlin sketches (Benesch 0556 and Benesch 0559) could be the work of another Rembrandt pupil who had, like Fabritius, trained with Rembrandt in the 1640s, but also emulated facets of Rembrandt’s style of the following decade.
There is an added strip below., the result of an adjustment that was apparently made by the artist, as some pen lines run across the join. The intention may have been to obliterate Tobias’s right foot and make it appear that he had partly entered the water. A copy, made after this strip was added, but now trimmed on all sides, is in the Louvre, as is also a variant, with Tobias turned the other way.[3]
Condition: Generally excellent, apart from some foxmarks in the upper left quarter of the sheet.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius??
Date: 1650-54?
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Berliner Museen, Kupferstichkabinett (inv.KdZ. 4238).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, 2, 279; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.40; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 2, 1914, no.26, repr.; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.234, repr. (c.1645; uncertain in execution); Bredt, 1927, 1, p.270, repr.; Vandyke, 1927, p.48 (Bol, as also Sacrifice of Isaac, HdG 22 [Berlin, 2019, no.119]); Berlin, 1930, p.223, inv.4238 (c.1645); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.267 (c.1645); Lugt, 1931, p.57 (school of Rembrandt, c.1645; compares Benesch 0574 and Tobias in the House of Raguel, Benesch C006); Paris, 1933, under nos.1109 and 1251 (mostly as Lugt, 1931; c.1640 or slightly later; copy in Louvre, inv. RF 23590); Benesch, 1935, p.36; Weski, 1942, no.162 (mid-1640s); Benesch, 1947, no.132, repr. (compares Benesch 0556); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.559, repr. (c.1644; compares Benesch 0556 and Benesch 0557, as well as Benesch 0574); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.95 (c.1645); Drost, 1957, pp.203-204; Sumowski, 1961, p.11 (as Lugt, 1931; near Flinck drawing in Braunschweig); Scheidig, 1962, no.72; Rotermund, 1963, no.15, repr.; Held, 1964, p.29, n.1; Exh. Berlin, 1970, no.29, repr. (school of Rembrandt, c.1644); Haak, 1974, no.42 (c.1644); Held, 1991, p.142 (a copy after Rembrandt?); Exh. Dresden, 2004, under no.88 (iconography); Berlin, 2006, pp.198-99 (Bol, c.1645); Exh. Amsterdam-Paris, 2007, pp.122-23 (Bol); Exh. Berlin, 2011-12, no.51 (c.1645-50); Bevers, in Damm and Hoesch, 2017, under no.76 (Bol); Berlin, 2018, no.10, repr. (Bol, c.1643-45; compares Dream of Jacob by Bol, in Besancon [see here under Benesch 0555, Fig.c] and Bol’s David on his Deathbed Appointing Solomon, Sumowski 1277 [as Horst but since reattributed to Bol]; derived from Rembrandt early 1640s such as Benesch 0500a and Benesch 0519; by Bol compares Tobias with the Fish, Vienna, inv. 8780; Sumowski 249x; the Healing of Tobit, now in the Hoesch collection [Damm and Hoesch, 2017, no.76, repr.] and, as Lugt, Benesch Tobias in the House of Raguel, Benesch C006; sees Bol as producing a cycle of drawings of the Tobit story, including Benesch 0646 in Berlin, Sumowski 265x now in Raleigh and Benesch 0584 in the Morgan Library). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Acquired by the present repository in 1902 on the English art market.
[1] The possible attribution to Bol, which in 1987 also occurred as a possibility to the compiler, is examined closely by Bevers in Berlin, 2018, no.10. The comparisons he suggests, do carry some weight (see further main text above), but the drawings concerned are not ‘documentary’ drawings by Bol with the exception of the David on his Deathbed Appointing Solomon, Sumowski 1277, but this too has the slightly geometric division of forms that is characteristic of Bol.
[2] Vandyke, 1927, p.48.
[3] Respectively inv. RF 23590 and RF 4730; Paris, 1933, nos.1251-52.
First posted 14 January 2022.

Benesch 0560
Subject: Hagar by the Fountain on the Way to Shur, hearing the Angel’s Voice (Genesis, 16, 7-11)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash (much of the wash probably later);[1] ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed by Bonnat top left, in pen and brown ink: “84” (the number of the drawing in his album)
191 x 227. Watermark: Cross of Lorraine.
COMMENTS: The drawing may have been truncated on the left, as is suggested by an inexact and otherwise truncated copy, also in the Louvre (see Fig.a). The grey wash also seems alien, despite having a certain vigour to it on the right, especially in the cupola; the strongest brown wash to the left may also be later and is not replicated in the copy. There may well be further retouches in the figure of Hagar as well.[2]
The watermark suggests that the drawing may belong with Benesch 0558, in which both the foliage and the figure of Jacob resemble their counterparts here, creating an additional, stylistic connection. The landscape elements, in particular, seem close to another drawing in the Louvre, of Mercury, Argus and Io (for both comparisons, see Fig.b).[3] However, neither of these drawings include broader touches of the kind found in the foreground of Benesch 0560. In this the style approaches Benesch 0559, which however takes such energised lines to an extreme and which differs in touch in the figures and the background landscape.
Condition: Perhaps trimmed at the left (see the Louvre copy mentioned above) and partly reworked (see main text above).
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt.
Date: 1650-55?
COLLECTION: F Paris, Musée du Louvre (Bonnat Collection; L.1886; inv.RF 4732; MS inventory vol. 20, p. 274).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, 1, 178; Seidlitz, 1894, p.122; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.666; Saxl, 1908, p.239 (c.1645); Hofstede de Groot, 1910, 1, pp.4-5; Demonts, 1920, pp.4, 16-17, repr. fig.15; Bredt, 1921, I, p.6; Benesch, 1922, pp.35-37; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.16, repr.; Van Dyke, 1927, p.128; Paris, 1933, no.1109, repr. pl.2 (shortly after 1640; compared Benesch 0559); Exh. Paris, 1937, no.127; Van de Waal, 1947, pp.149, 155 and 157, repr. fig.4; Rotermund, 1952, p.105, repr. pl.20c; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.560, repr. fig.690/729 (c.1644-45; follows Saxl, 1908, and Paris, 1933 [qqv]); Slive, 1965, 1, no.190 (repr. Lippmann plate); Rotermund, 1969, no.12, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1970, no.190; Van de Waal, 1974, pp.92-93 and 98, repr. fig.5; Schatborn, 1981, p.22; Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.38, repr. (much reworked by a later hand – all the grey wash and perhaps also the brown, but the main parts by Rembrandt, though the Hagar also retouched; compares especially Hagar’s face with Benesch 0183, and therefore dates c.1647); Royalton-Kisch, 1990, p.133 (pupil of the 1650s); Exh. Paris, 1994, no.91. [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: J.P. Zoomer (L.1511); E.V. Utterson (L.909); W. Russell (L.2648); acquired before 1885 by Léon Bonnat (L.1714), by whom given to the present repository, 1919.
[1] Some other drawings reworked in grey wash are mentioned under Benesch 0490.
[2] According to Starcky (Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.38), who studied the drawing using infra-red reflectography.
[3] For the latter drawing, see Exh. Paris, 1988-89, no.74, as ”attributed to Rembrandt” (inv. 29040, with further literature, including HdG 781, Valentiner 593, and Slive, 1965, 2, no.388).
First posted 17 January 2022.

Benesch 0561
Subject: Tobit and Anna with the Goat (Tobit, 2, 11 – Tobit 3, 2)
Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right, by Sparre: “1812” and by Mariette: “198” (crossed out).
119 x 200. Watermark: Cockatrice; chain lines: 20h.
COMMENTS: One of the many depictions of the story of Tobit by Rembrandt and his pupils (for which see under Benesch 0492).
The drawing has long been largely omitted from discussions of Rembrandt’s authentic drawings. Yet the quality is far from negligible, especially in the finely delineated characterisation of the old Tobit – though he perhaps appears more youthful and less blind than he should. The composition has been associated with the painting of the subject in Berlin of 1645 (Bredius 514; Wetering 201 – the latter as by “Rembrandt and pupil”), but the similarities beyond the setting are little more than generic and the figures are not only in reverse, but have many variations. Nonetheless, the painting could be a pointer for the date of the drawing, if Rembrandt and his pupils were all working simultaneously together on versions the subject. It has been suggested that both the drawing and the painting might reflect a lost version by Rembrandt himself.[1]
In style it approaches many sheets now ascribed to Ferdinand Bol, including the Tobit and Anna (sans goat), in the Victoria and Albert Museum (see Fig.a).[2] Here we encounter again the general delicacy of touch and the common use of verticals, whether in the shadows or in the perspective in the receding windows or walls (on the right in the London drawing, on the left in the Stockholm one). Other drawings attributed to Bol with a comparable style include Benesch 0492, in which the kneeling Tobit is resembles his counterpart here, as do the curls of smoke (Fig.b). But other drawings usually given to Bol are less close in style (see Fig.c) and his ‘documentary’ studies related to his paintings are yet further removed (Fig.d), so that doubts must remain concerning the attribution. However, it must be added that Rembrandt’s own drawings that appear the most similar show up the relative simplicity of style here, in the even touch and the lack of subtlety in most of the shading (see Fig.e).
The figure of Tobit is posed similarly in Benesch 0572, a drawing that much date from around ten years later. The possibility that the Stockholm drawing in fact dates from this later period – the work of a pupil still emulating Rembrandt’s style of the previous decade – cannot be entirely excluded.
Condition: Loss at the right margin above centre, filled in.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1645? (1655??)
COLLECTION: S Stockholm, Nationalmuseum (L.1638; inv.NMH 2008/1863).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1893, p.408; Upmark and Kruse (Stockholm Drawings), 1, 1 (according to HdG, 1906); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1549 (c.1645; study for painting in Berlin [Bredius 514; Wetering 201]); Stockholm, 1920. I, 1, repr. (reporting Saxl’s opinion that the drawing is a copy); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.222, repr. (copy after a lost original, as Saxl – see Stockholm, 1920); Benesch, 1935, p.38; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.561, repr. (c.1644-45; agrees with Hofstede de Groot, 1906; close to Benesch 0539 and Benesch 0541; before Benesch 0572 which he dates c.1645 because of the Berlin painting [on which see above]); Schatborn, 1975.1, p.56, repr. fig.15 (not Rembrandt); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.409, repr. fig.5 (as Schatborn, 1975.1; similar to 1645 Berlin painting but in reverse [Bredius 514; Wetering 201]; both might relate to a hypothetical lost version by Rembrandt); Berlin, 2018, under no.132 (comparing composition of Benesch 572); Stockholm, 2018, no.341 (perhaps a copy). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.] [accessed 22 January 2022]
PROVENANCE: Pierre Crozat sale, Paris, 10-13 May, 1741 (lot number uncertain but the drawing numbered for the sale by Mariette), bt Tessin; Carl Gustav Tessin (1695-1770; L.2985; his inventory, 1749, vol. 15, p.75, no.66); presented by him in 1750 to King Adolph Frederik of Sweden; his sale, 1777, where purchased by his successor, Gustav III, for the Swedish Royal Library (cat. 1794-1813, no.1812); whence transferred to the Royal Museum, Stockholm (L.1368) and thence transferred in 1866 to the present repository.
[1] Corpus, 5, 2011, p.409 (see Literature).
[2] The drawing is illustrated in the Not in Benesch section as a comparison to the Holy Family in the Abrams Collection.
First posted 29 January 2022.

Benesch 0562
Subject: The Return of the Prodigal Son (Luke, 15, 11-32)
Verso: see Inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and (later) grey wash (see under Benesch 0434); remnants of ruled framing lines on three sides but not at the top. Inscribed verso, in graphite: “VIII” and “Rembrandt / coll. Andreosy”; and “Rem 4” and other numbers and letters
172 x 176. Watermark: none; chain lines: 30h.
COMMENTS: The subject was treated by Rembrandt in his etching of 1636 (Bartsch 91; NH 159), which was in turn inspired by a design by Maerten van Heemskerck,[1] but the composition here differs substantially. The draughtsmanship here might be described as ungainly, with many repeated and even overly reinforced outlines, not least in the son on the right. An interesting feature is the goat at the lower left, drawn in just a few, continuous outlines (as in its horns), which seems to reflect Rembrandt’s approach in the mid-1640s, as in the Star of the Kings (Benesch 0736). There are also stylistic links with school works such as Benesch 0511 (in the figures turned to the right) and Benesch 0525 (also in the architecture).
The drawing has been ascribed to Ferdinand Bol in the past, on the basis of his study in Hamburg of Joseph Interpreting the Prisoners’ Dreams (repr. here under Benesch 0555, Fig.d, and elsewhere).[2] However, that drawing is related to a painting in Schwerin, the attribution of which has proven contentious (it is not signed), undermining its status as a starting-point for attributions to Bol.[3] But there are yet closer links to another sheet that is currently acknowledged as a “documentary” drawing by Bol, his sketch in Besançon of David’s Charge to Solomon (see Fig.a). This relates to Bol’s large painting of the subject, signed and dated 1643, in Dublin.[4] Although somewhat neater, comparable ingredients here include the emphatic outlines that pay little regard to the play of the light, details such as the faces (sometimes with short parallel lines of hatching), the form of the hands, as well as the swift diagonal shading at the upper right and the trailing vertical lines rounding off the composition on the left (a feature found in earlier sketches by Rembrandt). The firm outlining of the bedpost towards the left resembles the approach in the goat in the lower left of Benesch 0562.
But here again, problems arise, as the Besançon drawing is so different in style from several other documentary studies by Bol of the same period, such as Benesch 0127A (and the comparative illustration there); Benesch 0167; Benesch 0359; Benesch 0438; and the drawings illustrated under Benesch 0475 on the left of Fig.b (and on the left of Benesch 0493, Fig.b); and on the left of Benesch 0537 Fig.a. The idea that the Besançon drawing is a quickly sketched copy or variant of the Dublin painting cannot be entirely ruled out. But for the present catalogue, the attribution of the Besançon sheet to Bol is retained, albeit with a question-mark, with the present drawing designated accordingly. Perhaps not coincidentally, both these composition studies can be traced back to the collection formed in the nineteenth century by Jean-François Gigoux (1806-1894; L.1164).
Condition: Fox-marked; trimmed at the top (see framing lines, trimmed away at the top).
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1643?
COLLECTION: NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (inv. MB 1958/T 23).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Frankfurt, 1924, no.43, repr.; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.389, repr. (hesitant execution); Hell, 1930, p.132; Benesch, 1935, p.38; Agafonova, 1940, p.21, repr. fig.7; Exh. Rotterdam, 1949, no.169; Exh. Rotterdam, 1949, no.169, repr. fig.211; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.562, repr. fig.695/731 (c.1644-45; compares Benesch 561, especially the goats); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, no.109 (early 1640s); Drost, 1957, p.189, repr. fig.219; Haverkamp- Begemann, 1961, p.52 (wash added by a later hand); Rotermund, 1963, p.185, repr. fig.201; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.103; Exh. Prague, 1966, no.89, repr.; Exh. Tokyo-Kyoto, 1968-69, no.104, repr.; Rotterdam, 1969, p.27, repr. fig.33; Broos, 1977, p.111; Rotterdam, 1988, no.45, repr. (perhaps based on Rembrandt’s 1636 etching of the subject, Bartsch 91; NH 159; compares Bol drawing in Hamburg [see further above]; suggests possible influence of Heemskerck’s print of the subject New Hollstein 363 [see [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Count A.F. Andreossy; his sale, Paris, Navoit, 13-16 April, 1864, lot 341; J.F. Gigoux (L.1164); M.J. Perry (L.1880); W.R. Valentiner; his sale, Amsterdam, Mensing, 25 October, 1932, lot VIII, repr.; D.G. van Beuningen (L.758); acquired with his collection in 1958.
[1] Giltaij, in Rotterdam, 1988, no.45. The print is New Hollstein 363 (Heemskerck), engraved by Philips Galle.
[2] Loc. cit, where the Hamburg drawing is repr. as fig.a.
[3] See Sumowski, Gemälde, 3, 1986, no.970, repr. (as an early work by Kneller).
[4] See Dublin, 1986, pp.13-14, repr. fig. 18; Sluijter, 2015, repr. fig.VII-5 and again in Dickey (ed.), 2017, p.32, repr. p.31, fig.1.10. The painting is online at: [accessed 1 February 2022].
First posted 2 February 2022.

Benesch 0563
Subject: An Old Man with an Angel (The Liberation of St Peter?)
Verso: Laid down on cream card
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash (see also under Condition), touched with white, on paper prepared with darker brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
173 x 143. Watermark: none visible (sheet laid down); chain lines: horizontal (distance apart uncertain).
COMMENTS: The pointing angel as well as the sharp chiaroscuro make the idea that the drawing represents the Liberation of St Peter likely (Acts, 12, 6-11).[1] The angel – especially its wings – resembles that standing nearest the centre of Benesch 0557 so closely that the drawings seem to be by the same hand; and again, as with that drawing, in the angel here we find a head so convincingly characterised, with its wings so freely and confidently sketched in that it seems justified to retain the drawing, with the utmost caution (three question-marks), in the “attributed to Rembrandt” section of this catalogue. Indeed, the squared off rendition of the back of St Peter’s head resembles the incipient cranium of the St. Joseph in Benesch 0567. But a comparison with, for example, Benesch 0606 makes an attribution to Rembrandt himself unlikely, although the two drawings must be close to each other in date and are similar in type. There are also links in the penwork with Bol’s study of Hagar and the Angel at the Well on the Road to Shur, now in the Rijksmuseum (especially in the angel – see Fig.a). The wash, however, with its sometimes dry and open touch on the right, is more Rembrandtesque (cf. Benesch 0272, Benesch 0313, Benesch 0393 and Benesch 0519): could it be that Rembrandt retouched the drawing with the brush? The possibility of course exists, but yet again, it remains only a tentative suggestion.
The section at the lower left, with darker wash, might once have been covered with an improved version of the figure of St Peter, drawn on a small tab that was stuck on and then later removed or fell away.[2]
Condition: Generally good; the darker brown wash at the lower left includes a later stain, likely accidental, or possibly applied by a later hand to disguise the flaws in the description of the nearer arm (see further above and also n. 2 below); there are also stains at the top corners caused by old acidic tabs.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol? / Rembrandt???
Date: 1640-45?
COLLECTION: Private Collection.
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.563, repr. fig.735 (c.1644-45; compares Benesch 0557; perhaps shows the Liberation of St Peter; compares Berlin painting of Joseph’s Dream of 1645, Bredius 569; Wetering 202 [the latter as Rembrandt and studio] and Peter’s profile with Benesch 0564). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: F. C. Theodoor, Baron van Isendoorn à Blois (L.1407); Adalbert, Freiherr von Lanna (L.2773, with numbering: 293); his sale (2nd part), Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 8 May, 1910, lot 457; Dr. Charles Simon, Zurich (according to Benesch); private collection (for three generations or more, according to 2019 sale catalogue; their sale, London, Sotheby’s, 3 July 2013, lot 133, sold for £13,750; private collection; sale, Paris, Sotheby’s, 29 March, 2019, lot 122, repr. (as Ferdinand Bol), sold for €25,000.
[1] As suggested by Benesch, 1955/73, no.563.
[2] When the author first inspected the drawing in 2013, it seemed the only way to explain the character of parts of what appears to be darker brown wash in the figure of St Peter. Certainly, the disconnect between the hand and the elbow could have prompted such a revision.
First posted 7 February 2022.

Benesch 0564
Subject: Esau Selling his Birthright to Jacob (Genesis, 25, 29-34)
Verso: See inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash and some white bodycolour. Inscribed lower right by W. Esdaile with his initials in pen and brown ink: “WE” (see L.2727); inscribed verso in graphite on an added piece of paper, top right: “42” [in a circle]; “III” and “169”; lower left, inscribed by Esdaile in pen and brown ink: “1835 WE Rembrandt”, and by another hand, in graphite, lower right: “paste some paper on the hole”
166 x 157. Watermark: Cross of Lorraine (cf. Voorn, no.24 [1640]); chain lines: 25/26v.
COMMENTS: The drawing was long considered to be by Rembrandt, bolstered by the fact that there is a good, perhaps early copy in the British Museum (see Fig.a).[1] In some areas this attempts to improve on the original (as noted by Schatborn, 1982). Nonetheless, there are several reasons also to assign the Amsterdam drawing to one of his pupils and it appears to be by the same hand as many studies now attributed to Ferdinand Bol. The modelling, for example, is worked up in many parts, especially in the figure of Esau, and yet remains flat and imprecise; the same figure looks more towards the spectator than at Jacob, and the comparison with Rembrandt’s own version of the subject (Benesch 0606, qv.; see details in Fig.b) leaves the present drawing wanting in energy, characterisation and narrative skill. In every part the relative clumsiness of the modelling is revealed. In the same illustration (Fig.b), a detail from the documentary drawing of 1641, Benesch 0500a, tells the same story.[2] Yet as a pointer to the date, the latter is suggestive, as is also the watermark.
For Bol’s authorship speaks the stylistic connection with works now assigned to him (rather than documentary drawings), such as the Hamburg study – often illustrated in this catalogue – of Joseph in Prison, in which the zigzag shading towards the lower right is especially close to that seen here in the lower centre (see Fig.c), and in which the modelling is yet looser (it may date from some years later). Yet the attribution to Bol needs to be treated with some caution, as the stylistic connections are less clear with Bol’s documentary drawings (some of which are listed and/or illustrated elsewhere in this catalogue).[3]
Condition: Some general stains especially towards upper corners; a small hole filled at upper left with a pinhole to the right of this; other thin patches near the left edge; a brown spot caused by a rusted impurity above Esau’s head; slightly trimmed.
Summary attribution: Ferdinand Bol?
Date: 1640-41?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum (L.1036; inv. TA 10285).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1835, no.59 (the exhibition of Lawrence’s collection; this drawing as formerly in the collection of Thomas Dimsdale); Amsterdam, 1863, no.169; Gram, 1863, p.340; Vosmaer, 1868, p.504 (Esau?); Gower, 1875, p.126; Vosmaer, 1877, 0.584; Dutuit, 1885, p.91; Michel, 1893, p.591; Kleinmann, 3, no.7; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, under no. no.868 (noting London version as a copy [see further above]) and no.1213; Lippmann, 3, 87; Saxl, 1908, p.233, no.106 and p.348, no.87 (c.1657; Esau shows Titus); 10 Teekeningen, The Hague, 1910, series A, unnumbered and unpaginated, repr.; Wurzbach, 1910, pp.415 and 417; Hind, 1912, 1, p.56, repr. pl.XVII; London, 1915, p.46, under no.129; Bredt, 1921, 1, p.28, repr.; Kauffmann, 1926, p.175, n.3 and no.55; Van Dyke, 1927, p.48 (Bol, comparing [Benesch 0528]); Bredt, 1931, 1, p.27, repr. and 2, p.132; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.55 (c.1633); Hind, 1932, p.27, repr. fig.VIII-IX; Benesch, 1935, p.38 (c.1645-47); Poortenaar, 1943, pp.27 and 35, repr. fig.16; Benesch, 1947, no.136, repr.; Exh. Basel, 1948, no.14 (c.1640); Exh. Amsterdam, 1951, no.5 (c..1633); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.563, repr. fig.694/733 (groups with drawings of c.1645 and compares Benesch 0565); Exh. Cologne, 1955, no.61, repr.; Pigler, 1956, 1, p.53; Exh. Warsaw, 1956, no.1; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.95, no.110 (c.1640-45); Exh. Munich, 1957, no.17 (first half of 1640s); Exh. Haifa, 1959, no.45; Exh. Recklinghausen, 1959, no.258; Exh. Tel Aviv, 1959, no.94; Exh. Belgrade, 1960, no.68; Exh. Jerusalem, 1960, no.68; Exh. Recklinghausen, 1960-61, no.D 110; Exh. Budapest, 1962, no.68; Exh. Amsterdam, 1963, no.29; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65, no.56, repr. fig.15 and on cover (possible influence of engraving after Paulus Moreelse by Willem van Swanenburgh); Exh. Jerusalem, 1965, no.17 (c.1640-45); Slive, 1965, 1, no.108 [I, 106] and 2, no.424 III, 87; Haak, 1968, pp.94-95, repr. fig.49; Exh. Tokyo-Kyoto, 1968-69, no.100, repr. (c.1640-45); Exh. Amsterdam, 1969, no.69, repr. (as Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-65); Held, 1973 [discussion], p.80; Rosenberg, 1973, p.111; White, 1969, 1, pp.53-54, repr. 2, fig.58; Richards, 1970, p.74, repr. fig.5 (c.1645); Pigler, 1974, 1, p.58; Bernhard, 1976, p.340, repr. (c.1645); Haak, 1976, p.28, repr. fig.43 (c.1644-45); Amsterdam, 1981, no. 12, repr. (British Museum copy unusually faithful, as noted by previous writers; Benesch 0606 a ‘new version’; characterisation of Esau the focus; possible influence of engraving after Paulus Moreelse by Willem van Swanenburgh); Schatborn, 1982, pp.254-55, repr. fig.3 (follower of Rembrandt; Bol might be a possibility; copy in London improves on the handshake, as also the lines under Jacob’s arm better describe the tablecloth; Esau seems to look out towards the spectator rather than at Jacob; and odd that there is a second bowl on the table – comparing most unfavourably also in the modelling, the narrative content and in other respects to Rembrandt’s own drawing, Benesch 0606); Exh. London, 1992, under no.37, n.8 (agreeing with Schatborn, 1982); Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.11.2 (Bol; c.1640); E. van den Berg in Amsterdam Museum collections online, [accessed 8 February 2022](Bol, summarising Amsterdam, 1981 and Schatborn, 1982). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: T. Dimsdale (according to Exh. London, 1835); T. Lawrence (L.2445); S. Woodburn (by whom displayed at Exh. London, 1835, no.59) by whom sold with all the Rembrandt drawings to W. Esdaile (L.2727); his sale, Esdaile 1840, lot 94, bt Hodgson for Brondgeest with lot 93, £5: “Rembrandt van Rijn. Esau selling his birthright […] very spirited, from the Collection of T. Dimsdale, Esq.”; sale, Amsterdam; Mendes de Léon; his sale, Amsterdam, J. de Vries, et al., 20 November, 1843 and following days, lot 6: “Esau, zijn geboorterecht aan Jacob verkoopende; breed met de pen’”, sold for f.37; perhaps Verstolk van Soelen, his sale, Amsterdam, 22 March, 1847, lot 37: “Du Même [i.e. Rembrandt van Rhyn] Deux hommes dont l’un, vu sur le dos, est assis à une table; dessin exécuté à la plume” bt Brondgeest, f.181 ; C.J. Fodor, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1860.
[1] London, 2010 (online), no.88 [; accessed 9 February 2022] (as anonymous after Rembrandt, whose authorship of the original has been doubted).
[2] Schatborn, 1982 (see Literature above), was the first to describe how the drawing falls aside from Rembrandt’s oeuvre when compared with Benesch 0606.
[3] For example, under Benesch 0493, Benesch 0524, Benesch 0526, Benesch 0556, Benesch 0559 and Benesch 0562 (for the Hamburg drawing illustrated here see further under Benesch 0524).
First posted 9 February 2022.

Benesch 0565
Subject: Esau at the Well/Narcissus?
Verso: Laid down
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash, with some white bodycolour (correcting the figure’s nearer knee). Inscribed below the margin by a later hand: “Rembrandt”
180 x 210.
COMMENTS: The composition has long been identified as an illustration of Esau at the Well, but the subject does not appear to exist.[1] As a possible alternative, Narcissus is here suggested, as the man looks into water and falls in love with his own reflection (Ovid, Book 3), and as a hunter, he carries his bow and arrow and is accompanied by the dogs and what appears to be dead game placed to his left.
The style of the penwork in the figure, with its many fine lines and its tendency to simply the forms into geometric shapes, is reminiscent of the seated figure on the left in Benesch 0527 (here described as a drawing by “Ferdinand Bol?/Rembrandt?? Retouched by Rembrandt”). But the touch here is less evocative, and the artist has found it necessary to clarify the head many times over, while the pentimento in the right leg is little short of heavy-handed. The lightly touched background architecture, with its many loops and curls and the lazy zigzag for the shading in the tower, resembles Benesch 0386, which is probably earlier, Benesch 0549, Benesch 0551 and Benesch 0564. These are also assigned, here and in some cases elsewhere, to Ferdinand Bol (here with a question-mark), but it has to be admitted that the style deviates further from Bol in the present case in all the main areas of focus, apart from the reinforcements to the figures seen in Benesch 0386.
Also uncharacteristic of Rembrandt’s handling is the application of the darkest shading, for example under the belly of the nearer hound. The large gap in the indication of the lower edge of the nearer face of the fountain is also troubling, as also the optical effect of the two dogs: logically it should be the further hound that receives more shading, and by darkening the nearer one the perspectival relationship between them is undermined.
However, despite any quibbles, the drawing has a moment of splendour in the outlining of the two hounds, both created with confident, sweeping strokes, with considerable verve and with a clear sense of the skeletal structure, not least in their hind legs (compare those of the swine in Benesch 0601). The approach here is closer to Rembrandt in the 1650s, as are also the pockets of parallel shading, especially in the lower right corner, so reminiscent of studies like Benesch 0885. The idea that this is a school drawing but retouched by Rembrandt (as suggested in Exh. Moscow, 1995-96), is alluring: the pupil may have adumbrated the sheet with the thinner lines, which in fact continue, in the architecture, beyond or underneath the hounds (note the ultra-thin vertical shading that crosses the backs of the animals). This eventuality would also explain the disparity of styles, with the pupil emulating the 1640s and the master intervening in his manner of the following decade.
Condition: Some spots and stains, though generally good.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Ferdinand Bol??), retouched by Rembrandt.
Date: 1650-55?
COLLECTION: R Moscow, Pushkin Museum (claimed for restitution by the Dutch government on behalf of NL Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, for which acquired by D.G. van Beuningen from the collection of Franz Koenigs; inv.R 104).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Lippmann, 4, 44; Exh. London, 1929, no.579 [and Commemorative Catalogue, p.198] (G. Falck identified the subject, confirmed by Benesch 0564; more sculptural quality of draughtsmanship develops in mid-1640s, for which compares Benesch 0567; Benesch 0569, Benesch 0572 and Benesch 0576); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.333; Exh. Amsterdam, 1932, no.302; Exh. Rotterdam, 1934, no.100; Benesch, 1935, p.38; Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.601, repr.; Exh. Budapest, 1935 (according to inventory of Koenigs collection, without further details); Exh. Rotterdam, 1938, no.320; Benesch, 3, 1055/73, no.565, repr. (c.1645; records that G. Falck identified the subject; Elen, 1989, no.500, repr.; Exh. Moscow, 1995-96, no.284, repr. (as pupil’s work corrected by Rembrandt, mid-1640s); Exh. Moscow, 2006, no.66. [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: E. Wauters (L.911); his sale, Amsterdam, Muller-Mensing, 15-16 June, 1926, lot 149, bt Muller; W.R. Valentiner (according to Benesch); acquired in 1928 by F. Koenigs (L.1023a); D.G. van Beuningen (destined for the present-day Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam); sold to Germany, 1940; stored in Dresden (1941-45); seized by the Soviet Army’s Trophy Division and deposited in the Pushkin Museum, Moscow.
[1] See Literature above (Exh. London, 1929, and Benesch, 1955/73). Despite scanning the Bible online and a serious Googling session, I cannot find a reference. Esau’s twin brother, Jacob, is associated with more than one well but he was not a hunter, which Esau, of course, was.
First posted 13 February 2022.

Benesch 0566
Subject: Eliezer and Rebeccah at the Well (Genesis, 24, 15-22)
Verso: Laid down
Medium: Pen and brown ink.
129 x 152.
COMMENTS: For the subject, compare for example Benesch 0491 (here ascribed to Carel Fabritius) and the more broadly executed Benesch 0503.[1] The present drawing has been lost sight of and has only been published by Benesch (1955/73), who believed the figure of Rebecca had been completed by another hand. An attributional judgment is hampered by the indifferent quality of the only available illustration, but there are certainly grounds for doubting Rembrandt himself was responsible for it. Yet despite a certain timidity, for example in the seated Eliezer, the sketch is not without quality and could be the work of a gifted pupil active when the other drawings of the subject were made, probably in the mid-to late 1640s. There is a fluency, particularly in the description of the camel and the figure on the right, that suggests a more than merely competent hand. In the available photograph, the figure of Rebecca is blurred but seems also to have been drawn in decisive strokes, reminiscent of Benesch 0539 (the darkest lines perhaps those to which Benesch objected, and not without reason). But overall, if Ferdinand Bol’s name is suggestible (with hesitation) for that drawing, here the style differs and in the seated Eliezer is more akin to Samuel van Hoogstraten’s more geometric approach to the form of the human figure. Perhaps the drawing is by another pupil who had worked in Rembrandt’s studio at approximately the same period as him, or slightly later, in the mid-to late 1640s.
Condition: Uncertain.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt.
Date: 1650?
COLLECTION: Whereabouts unknown (Formerly M. Marignane, Paris).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955, no.566, repr. (c.1644-45; figure of Rebekkah completed by another hand); Yeager-Crasselt, 2017, n.9 (describing Bol painting of the subject, then in USA New York, Leiden Collection and now in F Paris, Musée du Louvre, and some other Rembrandt school versions [accessed 13 February 2022]). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Formerly M. Marignane (according to Benesch).
[1] Other Rembrandt school depictions of the subject of the 1640s or early 1650s include works – all with very different compositions – by Ferdinand Bol and Jan Victors. By Bol are: 1. Portrait of Anna van Erckel and Erasmus Scharlakens as Eliezer and Rebecca, a fragment of the 1640s, NL Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum (Sumowski, Gemälde, I, 1983, no.150 and Exh. Amsterdam, 2017, repr. fig. 191, where dated c.1648 by R. Ekkart); 2. the painting of the mid-1640s now in the Louvre catalogued by Yaeger-Crasselt, 2017, who illstrates, Fig.1 a version in the style of Bol, but perhaps a copy, now in Darmstadt, inv.AE-660; 3. the drawing attributed to Bol now in A Vienna, Albertina, inv.8768, repr. loc. cit, fig.2 (see also ). By Jan Victors there is a painting of 1652 now in a private collection (repr. Sumowski, Gemälde, 4, 1989, no. 1755). Van den Eeckhout’s paintings of the subject all date from later. Cf. also Benesch 0988, Benesch C030, Benesch C064 and Benesch A013.
First posted 15 February 2022.

Benesch 0567
Subject: The Holy Family with an Angel
Verso: Blank – see Inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing line in pen and brown ink; the paper is thin pale cream, now turned somewhat pale brown (see further under Condition below). Inscribed verso, in graphite, upper left: “rembrand” [resembles “rembaand”]
163 x 159. Watermark: Cross of Lorraine (only half visible); chain lines: 24/26h; fine laid lines – c.16/cm.
COMMENTS: In the 1640s, Rembrandt and his pupils depicted the subject of the Holy Family in an Interior, with St Joseph at work in the background, several times. The most celebrated images are the paintings in the Louvre, of 1640, which also includes St Anne, St Petersburg, of 1645, and Kassel, of 1646,[1] and it is with the second of these that the present drawing is connected (see Fig.a). Also well-known is the elaborate, finished drawing in London, probably made as an independent work a few years later, in or around 1650 (Benesch 0516) – certainly in style there are no clear links with the drawing under discussion here.
Sketched as a rapid notation, the Bayonne drawing seems in every part to be freely and spontaneously set down, and the degree of abstraction in the description of the cradle in the foreground is remarkable. This makes it improbable that the drawing is a copy or derivation from the painting in St Petersburg,[2] for which it prepares the basic layout. Few preliminary studies for his paintings by Rembrandt survive and it is worthy of note that the style resembles that of another such sketch, the documentary drawing of the Rape of Ganymede (Benesch 0092), despite the fact that the latter dates from a decade earlier. Both partake of the same energy and there are analogies in the shorthand employed, particularly in the foreground. In the present case, Rembrandt’s main concern appears to have been to sketch out the geometry and balance of the composition, while in the finished picture this was combined with the play and interaction of the light from three different sources.[3] The strong, slanting lines descending from near the upper left corner must have been intended to suggest the light source from the heavens at the top left, here balanced by the lines describing the fireplace on the right, which slant the other way. The symmetry of the balance is less pronounced in the painting, not least because it has been cut down, especially on the right side.[4] The upper left part of the design was changed so that the putto became perpendicular, though his arms remain widespread in a possible prefiguration of the Crucifixion,[5] but he is now joined by further putti intent on making their way down from an opening to the heavenly light. In his original position in the drawing, Rembrandt may have felt that the slant of the putto overly emphasised the underlying geometry. The other adjustments are more minor: Joseph appears further away, his elbow moved to a position directly above the Virgin’s head and the angle of his arm adjusted, while through the chiaroscuro his presence is considerably reduced in prominence.
The handling resembles Rembrandt’s initial sketch of Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius, now in Stockholm (Benesch 0762a), a documentary drawing of 1646 in which his purpose must have been similar. Like that drawing, Benesch 0567 is here also designated as a “documentary” sheet.[6] Compare also Benesch 0568, possibly an alternative idea for the Virgin here, and Benesch 0569, in which St Joseph rests on the floor.
Condition: Generally good, though foxed and light-struck (with a narrow margin protected by an old mount); a small hole and stain above the putto’s head.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt*.
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: F Bayonne, Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Musée des beaux-arts de Bayonne (stamped on the back of the mat with a rectangular black mark, not in Lugt, added by the Musées nationaux in 1923, reading “COLLECTION / LEON BONNAT / 01467”; inv.1467, formerly NI 1454).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1899.1, no.174; Lippmann, 3, 20; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.683 (c.1646; study for Hermitage painting); Exh. Paris, 1908, no.341; Graul, 1924, no.36, repr.; Rijckevorsel, 1932, p.19, repr. fig.19; Benesch, 1935, p.37; Rosenberg, 1948, p.122; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.567, repr. (for Hermitage painting of 1645; compares Benesch 0569-70; geometric style anticipates the mature Rembrandt); Benesch, 1960, no.46, repr.; Exh. Bayonne, 1968-1969, no.14; Exh. Bayonne, 1975, no.14; Sumowski, Drawings, 5, 1981, under no.1133x; Corpus, 1, 1982, p.22 (for Rembrandt a rare example of a full composition sketch); Exh. London, 1992, under no.43 (not certainly by Rembrandt); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1995, pp.9 and 28, n.6, repr. fig.4 (see n.5 below); Dibbits, 2006, p.116, repr. fig.15 (although considered a preliminary study for the St Petersburg painting, probably based on the painting and executed by a pupil); Slive, 2009, pp.196-97, repr. fig.15.1 (c.1645); London, 2010 (online), under no.39 (as Exh. London, 1992); Corpus, 5, 2011 under no.4, pp.371 and 375-77, repr. fig.5 (notes reduction of size of the fireplace in the 1645 painting, which may well have been cut; “plausible” that the drawing was a preparatory study for the painting; compares Benesch 0092 for style of such working sketches); Schatborn, 2019, no.80, repr. (c.1645).
PROVENANCE: L. Bonnat (L.1714), by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1922.
[1] Respectively Bredius 563, 570 and 572 (Wetering 173, 198 and 209). The Kassel painting was almost certainly painted with studio assistance and repeats the figure of Joseph from the Hermitage version, in reverse.
[2] The compiler once did, in passing, shed some doubt on the drawing – see Literature above, under Exh. London, 1992 (repeated in London, 2010 [online]), and also Dibbits, 2006.
[3] Van de Wetering wrote eloquently on this topic (Corpus, 5, 2011, esp. pp.73ff.).
[4] Ibid. in Corpus, 5, 2011, no.4, especially p.371.
[5] See Haverkamp Begemann, 1995. He also notes thast the drawing is difficult to compare in style with other Rembrandt drawings because of its unusual function as a “lay-out” drawing.
[6] On the documentary drawings, see the Introduction on the “About” page.
First posted 18 February 2022.

Benesch 0568
Subject: A Young Woman Kneeling in Prayer (the Virgin Mary?)
Medium: Pen and brown ink.
74 x 55 (cut irregularly).
COMMENTS: This rescued fragment, as Benesch stated, is stylistically close to Benesch 0567, especially the figure of the Virgin, whom the drawing may also portray. Juxtaposing these details (see Fig.a) does however show up the much livelier handling in Benesch 0567. The style also compares, for example, with the seated Eliezer in Benesch 0566. On the basis of Benesch’s illustration, a final judgment is difficult to make, but this slight sketch is an effective characterisation of a woman kneeling in humility, preserved from a larger sheet, and is here categorised, with a question mark, as “attributed to Rembrandt”, and like Benesch 0567 placed around 1645.
The pose of the woman suggests she was probably sketched for a composition other than the Hermitage’s Holy Family with Angels (discussed and reproduced under Benesch 0567, qv). While she could be a Virgin kneeling in a Nativity or Adoration, there are several other Old and New Testament iconographies which would have required a woman kneeling meekly.
Condition: Uncertain (not seen), but clearly a fragment, stuck onto a secondary support sheet.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt?
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: Formerly NL The Hague, private collection (C. Hofstede de Groot).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. Amsterdam, 1913, no.69; Exh. Leiden, 1916, ii, no.50; Exh. The Hague, 1930, ii, no.79; Exh. Amsterdam, 1930,[1] Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.568, repr. (c.1645; a free invention, not a study from a model; relates style to the Virgin in Benesch 0567); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: J.C. van Klinkosch; his sale, Vienna, Wawra, 15 April, 1889, no.736; Baron A. von Lanna; his sale, Stuttgart, Gutekunst, 6-11 May, 1910, no.461; C. Hofstede de Groot; his sale, Leipzig, Boerner, 4 November, 1931, lot 177.
[1] Benesch (1955/73) gives this reference to an Amsterdam exhibition in October, 1930, but the compiler cannot confirm it.
First posted 1 March 2022.

Benesch 0569
Subject: The Holy Family Asleep, with Angels
Medium: Pen and brown ink.
173 x 212.
COMMENTS: The depiction of the whole Holy Family asleep is highly unusual. It might be that Rembrandt had in mind Matthew, 2, 13: “…an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him’”. This episode is shown in a small painting of around 1645, now in Berlin, and currently attributed to “Rembrandt and mainly pupil” (Bredius 569; Wetering 202). Of approximately the same date are several compositions devoted to the Holy Family, including Benesch 0567 and the related Holy Family with Angels of 1645, now in St Petersburg (Bredius 570; Wetering 198; see Benesch 0567 Fig.a), in which the cot occupies a similar position to Benesch 0569, though here it is without the hood. There is also the Rijksmuseum’s Holy Family at Night (Bredius 568; not in Wetering; Corpus, 5, 2011, no.5 as by a pupil), in which the Virgin Mary is reading by lamplight.[1] The drawing of a Baby in a Cot, Benesch 0570, and A Child Sleeping, Benesch A059a (for which see under the Not in Benesch tab) also belong to the same years.
Benesch 0569 is generally regarded as Rembrandt’s work and placed alongside the above works in the mid-1640s, the only doubts having been expressed in passing by the compiler.[2] Three aspects of the drawing seem to merit particular concern: first, the plethora of repeated outlines, not least in the figure of Joseph (see the detail), militates against Rembrandt’s general fluency, brevity and decisiveness; secondly, the timid and mechanical shading to the right of the Virgin and to the lower left of the cot (see the detail), which cannot be paralleled in any securely attributed or even generally-accepted drawings by Rembrandt; and thirdly, the simple, geometrical rendition of the two putti, who float in an ungainly interrelationship (although their combined geometry has been interpreted as an attempt to create a symbolic cross).[3] These qualities cannot be compared to any of the accepted pen studies of the 1640s by Rembrandt, and least of all with the documentary drawings, including Benesch 500a, Benesch 0736, Benesch 762a, and Benesch 763, or with the seven studies for the Hundred Guilder Print, Benesch 0183-85, Benesch 0188 and Benesch 0388. On the other hand, the putti are comparable to those in Benesch 0555 (see Fig.a), as pointed out in the entry for that drawing, which is rarely attributed to Rembrandt in the modern literature and is here designated as “attributed to Ferdinand Bol” with one question mark. The hands are also similar. But overall the two drawings do not appear to be necessarily by the same hand. The extreme delicacy of many of the lines suggests that the nib of the pen was reduced to a fine point (such as we see in Benesch 0479), and in this there are analogies with the handling of Benesch 0380, another drawing that may be loosely associated with Ferdinand Bol.
For these reasons, Benesch 0569 is here ascribed to the Rembrandt school, but not without retaining, as for Benesch 0555, a possible connection with both Bol and Rembrandt himself, the latter inspired by the unanimous attribution to him the drawing has received from all other commentators.
Condition: Good, if somewhat worn and probably washed.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Ferdinand Bol??; Rembrandt???).
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: GB Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum (PD. 42-1961).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Exh. London, 1938, no.553; Benesch, 1947, no.139, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.569, repr. (c.1645; ‘apparently’ connected with Hermitage painting [see Comments above]; one of Rembrandt’s most charming idylls of family life’); Exh. London, 1992, under no.43 (not certainly by Rembrandt); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1995, pp.9 and 17, repr. fig.5 (relates to St Petersburg painting; the only representation of the subject with all the Holy Family members asleep; the two putti form a cross, whereas only a single putto in the painting); Exh. Munich, 1995-96, no.107, repr.; Exh. Bremen, 2000-2001, under no.36 (helps identify subject of drawing by Samuel van Hoogstraten in Bremen, inv.1882; Sumowski 1189x); Exh. Edinburgh-London, 2001, under no.99, repr. fig. 133 (includes iconography of Joseph’s Dream; Dibbits, 2006, p.115, repr. fig.13 (cited as evidence of Rembrandt’s continued devotion to the Holy Family as subject-matter; his pupils were aware of this and followed suit); Schwartz, 2006, p.295, repr. fig. 521 (example of sleeping figures); Hogan, 2008, p.41 (as Benesch); Slive, 2009, p.197, repr. fig.15.3 (c.1645); Barker, 2010, pp.103-4, repr. figs.98 and 104 (as Benesch – ‘probably’ preparatory to the 1645 Hermitage painting; straightforwardly domestic scene ‘disrupted’ by the angels in these compositions); Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.224, 376 and 384, repr. fig.184 (refreshed, original iconography, perhaps based on acting out scenes with students; relates iconography of the angel to St Petersburg painting and especially the child and cradle to Amsterdam’s The Holy Family at Night, Bredius 568; Corpus, 5, 2011, no.5 [not in Wetering] which given to a pupil); London, 2010 (online), under no.39 (as Exh. London, 1992); Schatborn, 2019, no.72, repr. (c.1641).
PROVENANCE: E.J. Poynter (L.874); his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 25 April, 1918, lot 286, bt Agnew for C.B.O. Clarke; by descent to L.C.G. Clarke, by whom bequeathed to the present repository, 1961.
[1] The present writer has never fully understood why the Rijksmuseum painting is so roundly rejected as a Rembrandt; the breathtaking control of the chiaroscuro and the varied texturing of the surface seem to reveal more than the mere influence of the master.
[2] In Exh. London, 1992 and London, 2010 (online) – see Literature.
[3] Haverkamp-Begemann, 1995.
First posted 16 March 2022.

Benesch 0570
Subject: A Baby Sleeping in a Cradle
Medium: Black chalk.
75 x 110. Watermark: none visible.[1]
COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0567 and Benesch 0569 (qqv), this drawing is associated in general terms with Rembrandt’s painting of the Holy Family with Angels of 1645, now in the Hermitage (illustrated under Benesch 0567).
The connection is a little loose in that the cradle is there seen in reverse and there are other, minor differences (see Fig.a). However, the inclusion of the blanket on the cowl and other similarities, including the angle of the cot and aspects of the lighting, render it likely that the drawing was made before rather than after the painting. This being the case, the drawing is earlier than the majority of the black chalk sketches Rembrandt made in the mid- to later 1640s are usually dated, including the documentary drawing, Benesch 0749 of around 1647, in which the style is more geometrical. Compare for subject and style, Benesch A059 (included under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab).
Of note is Rembrandt’s capacity, on this small scale, to characterise the child and capture its features, using exceptionally delicate touches in the face, as also the subtle, almost Leonardesque gradations in the shading above its head.
Condition: Lower left corner repaired or replaced; foxing and other stains but these have been treated.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1645?
COLLECTION: Private Collection.[1]
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Michel, 1894 ed., p.256 (as owned by Frederic Leighton and from Esdaile and James collections); Lippmann, I, 188b; Exh. London, 1899, no.119; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1012 (in Heseltine collection; notes a later etching after the drawing, with an inscription [for which see Provenance]); Heseltine Drawings, 1907, no.8, repr.; Exh. Paris, 1908, no.374; Graul, 1918, no.18, repr.; Exh. London, 1929, no.592 and Commemorative catalogue, 1930, p.202; Benesch, 1935, p.38; Benesch, 1947, no.138, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.570, repr. (c.1645; life study, probably connected with Hermitage painting); Haverkamp-Begemann, 2005, pp.6-7, repr. fig.2 (sense of drawing from life, which also infuses the Hermitage painting); Hogan, 2008, p.41, repr. fig.30 (as Benesch; relates to Hermitage painting and Benesch 0569); Slive, 2009, p.197, repr. fig.15.4 (c.1645); Schatborn, 2019, no.371, repr. (c.1645).
PROVENANCE: London: “Sold at Austin and Van der Gucht, Hanover Square” (according to an etching based on the drawing recorded by Hofstede de Groot, 1906 – see Literature), likely between 1757 and 1764;[2] William Esdaile; Andrew James; his sale, London, Christie’s, 28 April, 1873, lot 75, bt Colnaghi, £3-13s-6d; Edward Cheney (dealer);[3] Frederic, Ist Baron Leighton, PRA; P.& D. Colnaghi & Co. (their label perhaps of c.1900 on the back of the frame); J.P. Heseltine (perhaps purchased from Colnaghi’s); Henry Oppenheimer (after 1908) by whom given to a private collector, and thence by descent.
[1] On 16 May 2002, I was shown the drawing, in a frame, at the British Museum by a representative of an English auction house, which also provided the recent provenance information.
[2] Dealers and auctioneers, including of old master drawings. The inscription on the print that Hofstede de Groot saw (which the compiler cannot find an impression of) suggests that they may have sold the drawing but possibly only that they had published the etching after it. For William Austin and Gerard van der Gucht II, see (accessed 18 March 2022).
[3] Hofstede de Groot records not Cheney but “Cluney”, probably a misprint.
First posted 22 March 2022.

Benesch 0571
Subject: Esther, Ahasuerus and Haman at the Banquet (?)
Medium: Pen and brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Inscribed lower centre, in graphite: “de Vos 425” [the 1883 De Vos lot number]; lower left: “Rembrandt”; lower right: “deGr 1162” [the number in Hofstede de Groot, 1906]
129 x 164. Watermark: letters “PR”; chain lines: 23h.
COMMENTS: Despite some Rembrandtesque abbreviations, the drawing fails to impress, exhibiting only a limited repertoire of gestures, while the pen lines are mostly of the same width and pressure, regardless of whether elements from the foreground or background are being described. The sense of recession is flattened by this general uniformity, while some of the heaviest lines appearing just above and to the right of the arch, on the furthest wall, interrupting the logic of the receding planes still further.
The lack of clarity extends to the figures, who are difficult to enumerate, rendering the precise identification of the subject problematic. The drawing shows Esther’s banquet, to which she had invited her husband, Ahasuerus, and Hamann (Esther, 7, 6-7). The figure on the left would be Esther, who is probably meant to be depicted veiled and seated at the table, although the figure has usually been interpreted as approaching it; the man with the feathered turban towards the right would be Ahasuerus, perhaps rising in his fury as he learns of Hamann’s treachery. But it has to be conceded that the other figures in the scene, including (in this interpretation) Hamann, are not identifiable.[1]
In style the drawing has been compared with one now in Edinburgh, attributed to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (see Fig.a), also mentioned and illustrated under Benesch 0485. As there noted, the attribution to Van den Eeckhout is far from certain, but the sketch is usually placed in the 1660s and may offer a pointer to the date of Benesch 0571. This idea garners support from the stylistic and compositional relationship of the present drawing to those associated with Rembrandt’s painting of the Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis of around 1661-62 (Benesch 1058 and the drawing in Edinburgh illustrated under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab). A reconstruction of the original appearance of the now mutilated picture, based on the surviving fragment and Benesch 1058, is illustrated at Fig.b,[2] and the setting similarly includes a table for a feast, raised on a substantially elevated platform, with steps in the foreground.
The connection in style with the supposed Van den Eeckhout drawing is not close enough to carry forward the same attribution to the present drawing, which is here designated simply as School of Rembrandt, perhaps dating from the first half of the 1660s.
Condition: Generally good, though with some foxing.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt.
Date: 1660-65?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (L.1228; inv. RP-T-1891-A-2421).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1162; Valentiner, I, 1925, no.198, repr. (Rembrandt? c.1630); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1921, no.6; Bauch, 1933, pp.227-28 (not Rembrandt; 1640s); Benesch, 1935, p.38 (c.1645-47); Gerson, 1936, under no. Z LXXV (Rembrandt?); Amsterdam, 1942, no.103 (not Rembrandt; c.1645); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.571, repr. fig. 703/741 (c.1645; compares Benesch 0762); Rosenberg, 1959, p.113 (Rembrandt?); Sumowski, 1961, p.12 (by a pupil); Exh. Berlin, 1970, under no.28 (by a pupil); Sumowski, Drawings, 5, 1982, under no.1133x (doubtful as Rembrandt); Amsterdam, 1985, no.80, repr. (anonymous – possibly by Van de Eeckhout, 1660s; compares the latter’s drawing in Edinburgh of The Presentation in the Temple, inv. D 2842, and his painting in Dresden of the same subject, inv.1638); Schatborn in Amsterdam (online), 2018: [; accessed 28 March 2022] (as Amsterdam, 1985). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: J. de Vos Jbzn (L. 1450); his widow, Abrahamina Henrietta de Vos-Wurfbain; De Vos sale, Amsterdam, C.F. Roos et al., 22 May 1883 and following days, lot 425, as school of Rembrandt, with six other drawings, bt J. de Vries (dealer) fl. 180, for the Vereniging Rembrandt (Rembrandt Society), by which transferred to the present repository, 1891. 1 from whom on loan to the museum, 1883; from whom purchased by the museum (L. 2228), 1891J. de Vos Jbzn (L.1450); his sale acquired by the Vereniging Rembrandt, 1891.
[1] Hofstede de Groot, 1906, followed by Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1921, Benesch, 1935, Benesch, 1935, Rosenberg, 1959 and Sumowski, 1961 preferred to see Hamann kneeling in disgrace before Ahasuerus and Esther; Valentiner, 1925 and Bauch, 1933, preferred to see Esther before Ahasuerus; while Henkel, in Amsterdam, 1942, saw Mordechai before Esther and Ahasuerus. This iconographic discussion depends on that by Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985 (and in Amsterdam [online], 2018), who believes the figure on the left must be either Hamann or Mordechai.
[2] From Corpus, 6, 2015, p.439. The reconstruction was made by Ernst van de Wetering. The painting is Bredius 482; Wetering 298.
First posted 1 April 2022.

Benesch 0572
Subject: Tobit and Anna with the Goat (Tobit, 2, 11-14)
Medium: Pen (reed pen) and brown ink, rubbed with the finger in the lower part of Tobit’s chair; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
0147 x 185. Watermark: not decipherable.
COMMENTS: The drawing has attracted some controversy[1] and, because it is not a preparatory study for another work by Rembrandt or his pupils (see further below), requires close stylistic analysis. Its breadth of style and rough-hewn character have given rise to some negative assessments and it may prove as difficult to allay all fears and doubts about the attribution to Rembrandt as to provide unconditional support for it.
Already from the mid-1640s, Rembrandt’s pen style could become surprisingly broad, almost as if he were manipulating a brush rather than a pen, as may be observed in several of the documentary drawings: the study in the British Museum for the etched Portrait of Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius of c.1646 (Benesch 0763), the pen sketch for the Portrait of Jan Six of c.1647 (Benesch 0767), the foreground section of the Berlin study for the Hundred Guilder Print (Benesch 0188), the Hamburg sketch of St Jerome in an Italian Landscape of c.1653 (Benesch 0886), through to studies of the 1660s, including the sketches for the Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild of c.1662 (Benesch 1179-80) and the Homer Dictating to a Scribe of c.1663 (Benesch 1066). But even closer to Benesch 0572 are two drawings that, although not documentary sheets, are inscribed by Rembrandt and generally accepted as his work: the Blind Belisarius Receiving Alms, now in Berlin (Benesch 1053), and the pen sketch of a Child Being Taught to Walk of c.1656 in the British Museum (Benesch 1169).
Bringing these two drawings together with Benesch 0572 does reveal a surprising degree of uniformity in their linear aspects (Figs a-b): the longer, broader strokes, especially in the Anna, conform to those in the main figures in the other two drawings – note especially the plunging “V” by Anna’s left calf, pointing at her inner ankle, and its counterpart in the central figure of the Belisarius drawing. Just above Anna’s left shoe, there is a small passage of lightly touched (and minute) parallel shading, which is replicated in the nearer leg of the child on the far right of the British Museum’s drawing. Also, below many of the feet in the Tobit and Anna, there is a short but powerful horizontal stroke, anchoring the figures and the chair, and suggesting shadow. Once again, we find this feature in the other two drawings. Finally, as well as a few finer lines, all the drawings have broad strokes that appear paler, sometimes with the nib splitting the line into two “tramlines” under the pressure exerted on it, as in the left calf of Anna; this shows that the pen moved so swiftly that, despite apparently being well charged with ink, the full flow of the ink did not reach the surface of the paper. Such passages occur at several points in the British Museum drawing, and in the Belisarius are found in the figure on the extreme right. These characteristics are already found in drawings such as Benesch 0931, although the present drawing is yet broader and probably rather later.
Benesch 0572 has less hatching or shading than the other two drawings in Figs a-b, but that cannot be deemed a sufficient reason to reject it. On the right of the goat, however, there is a freely-applied passage of shadow in broadly flicked touches, which although unusual in Rembrandt’s work approaches passages in drawings such as Benesch 1047 (by the pilaster at the upper right) and Benesch 1064 (towards the lower left, underneath the bed).
The composition has often been related to a painting of the same subject, dated 1645, in Berlin (see Fig.c; the detail of the drawing illustrated at the lower right is reproduced in reverse). Many writers assigned the same date to the drawing, but as we have seen, the stylistic evidence suggests that it is considerably later than the painting. It has been objected that the draughtsman cannot have been Rembrandt, as the sketch is derived with variations from the oil, and in reverse – characteristic of many “satellite” drawings by Rembrandt’s pupils . Yet the considerable improvements in the expressive force of both the figures – the blind Tobit reacting with raised hands to the remonstrations of his wife, whom he had accused of stealing the goat, as well as the forthright posture and demeanour of the protesting Anna, now given and extra twist at the waist – suggest strongly that the drawing is not a pupil’s echo of the painting (which is now attributed to Rembrandt and his studio), but Rembrandt’s own more successful reiteration of the scene, focussing on and capturing the full emotional turbulence of the moment.[2] Another refinement is made to the goat, which seems to pull away from Anna in the painting, as if reacting to the argument, but in the drawing remains wholly indifferent to the action.
Condition: Generally good, but some spotting and staining, mostly from old foxmarking.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1655-60?
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv. KdZ 3090).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amtliche Berichte, 7, 1886, col. V; Michel, 1893, p.574; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.38 (c.1645); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 2, 1914, no.23 (related to painting in Berlin [see main text]); Stockholm, 1920, under no. 1, I (study for Berlin painting; related sketch in Stockholm, Benesch 0561); Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.223, repr. (c.1650; a few years later than the Berlin painting); Van Dyke, 1927, p.118, repr. pl.XXXI, fig.122 (drawing and Berlin painting by Van der Pluym); Berlin, 1930, p.223 (as Valentiner, 1925); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.287, 2 (as Valentiner, 1925); Lugt, 1930 (uncertain – perhaps the result of a heavy pen); Benesch, 1935, p.38; Weski, 1942, p.168 (c.1650); Benesch, 1947, no.140, repr. (c.1645; related to Berlin painting); Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.572, repr., and under no.561 (c.1645; connected with Berlin painting, to which closer in style than to Benesch 0561 of the same subject); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.114 (c.1650); Scheidig, 1962, no.75, repr.; Held, 1964, p.10; Bauch, 1966, under no.26 (related to Berlin painting); Bredius-Gerson, 1969, under no.514 (forms similar to Berlin painting); Exh. Berlin, 1970, no.28 (c.1648, later than Berlin painting); Held, 1980, p.14; Held, 1983, p.82; Tümpel and Schatborn, 1987, pp.19 and 57-58 (1650s); Held, 1991, p.122; Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997–98, under no.20, n.2 (provenance from Faesch?); Kreutzer, 2003, pp.72-73 (c.1648); Paris, 2010, under no.21, n.2 (as Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997-98); Corpus, 5, 2011, under p.409 (1650s or later; not related to Berlin painting; not by Rembrandt, according to Bevers); Lugt online, 2013, under L.846 [ accessed 7 April 2022] (listed as with this mark, which attributed almost definitively to E. Faesch); Berlin, 2018, no.132, repr. (Rembrandt school; c.1655-60; too close a replication of the earlier Berlin painting to be an original by Rembrandt; style compared with Benesch 1045 and Benesch 1068 [also enumerating many of the drawing’s strengths…]); Schatborn, 2019, no.163, repr. (c.1656); Robinson, 2020, pp.7-8, repr. fig.4 (Rembrandt, pace Bevers in Berlin, 2018).
PROVENANCE: Pulszky (according to Hofstede de Groot, 1906); Von Rath (according to op. cit.); Posonyi (according to op. cit.); E. Faesch (L.846; see Lugt online); J. Guttentag, by whom donated to the present repository, 1885.
[1] See Literature above: doubters have been Van Dyke, 1927, Lugt, 1930, and Bevers in Berlin, 2018. The date assigned to the drawing has also varied widely.
[2] For Rembrandt and the Book of Tobit, see under Benesch 0492. Another drawing by a pupil – in the style of Nicolaes Maes – takes its cue from Rembrandt’s drawing and painting – see sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 9 November 1999, lot 29, repr. (as Maes), and for further details, the RKD website at: <> (accessed 9 April 2022).
First posted 10 April 2022.

Benesch 0573
Subject: Tobias and the Angel with the Fish (Tobit, 6, 2-3)
Medium: Pen (reed pen), rubbed with the finger and with some white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink. Some later additions, especially below, in a paler brown ink, as well as an added strip, c.20mm wide, down the left side. Inscribed verso, upper right, in graphite: “de Vos 424” [the 1883 De Vos sale lot no.]; lower left, in blue crayon: “27”; lower right, in graphite: “deG 1165” [the number in Hofstede de Groot, 1906]
218 x 178. Watermark: none.
COMMENTS: The drawing has suffered considerably from the later scribbled additions below, which are mostly eliminated in the computer-adjusted image at Fig.a.
The style in the main figures resembles Rembrandt’s drawings in his most simplified, pared-down manner, such as we find in the documentary Homer Reciting, of 1652, drawn in the Six Album (Benesch 0913), with its lightly-touched outlines that tend to the geometrical, with little interior modelling. In the tree in the Homer there are also some short diagonal lines of parallel hatching, with some vertical strokes at the lower left. This style is repeated in a number of drawings by Rembrandt of the same period, such as the Christ Among the Doctors (Benesch 0885; Louvre) but is also found in many sketches now assigned to Willem Drost (1633-59), who emulated it closely in numerous works now attributed to him, including Benesch 0893, Benesch 0944, Benesch 0955, Benesch 1152 and the present drawing.[1]
Compared with the Rembrandt drawings cited above, those attributed to Willem Drost (the “attributed to” designation is retained here as there are no “documentary” drawings by Drost that are signed or indisputably by him because of a connection with a signed or documented painting or print), who was one of Rembrandt’s most chamaeleon-like followers, are often characterised by an even touch, a superfluous use of parallel shading and somewhat shallow characterisations. In the present example, the many fine, tentative lines, the presence of white bodycolour and the ink rubbed with the finger to create shadow in the angel’s wing show that Drost could also emulate these aspects of Rembrandt’s drawing style – and that he could use shading more sparingly. Also typical of Drost are the strictly geometrical form of the angel’s right forearm and the loops that double-back in the drapery, as seen near Tobias’s left knee, and more than occasional lapses in the modelling – as in Tobias’s nearer arm and leg. Also worthy of comparison are two other drawings that Benesch considered to be by Rembrandt but are now attributed to Drost: Benesch 0290 (which also has some thin and tentative initial lines) and Benesch 0389 (in which the lower drapery contains loops similar to those seen here). Nonetheless, Benesch 0573 may be counted among Drost’s liveliest – and most Rembrandtesque – productions, and because of its size, one of the most ambitious.
For Rembrandt’s interest in subjects from the Book of Tobit, which inspired his pupil Drost here, see under Benesch 0492.
Condition: Apart from the added strip on the left and the later work added below, generally good; a few spots and stains, mostly from old foxmarks.
Summary attribution: Willem Drost?
Date: 1650-55?
COLLECTION: NL Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (L.2228; inv. RP-T-1889-A-2053).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no. 1165 (notes added strip on left); Valentiner, 1, 1925, no. 229, repr. (c.1640); Exh. Amsterdam, 1939, no.68f; Amsterdam, 1942, no. 56, repr. (compares Tobias with kneeling Mary in Benesch 0589); Exh. Rome, 1951, no.82; Bibeln, 1954, repr. fig.102; Vestdijk, 1956, pp.3, repr., and 68; Exh. Munich, 1957, under no.18; Rotermund, 1961, p.10, repr. on cover; Benesch, 1935, p. 40; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no. 573, repr. (c.1645-46; notes Rembrandt’s focus on the Book of Tobit in the mid-1640s; compares for style Benesch 0567, and Tobias with figure of Hagar in Benesch 0560;); Schatborn, 1985, p.101 (early Drost; Exh. Amsterdam, 2015, no.50 (Drost); Amsterdam online, 2019 [B. van Sighem, 2000 and M. Ram – (accessed 10 April 2022 12:48:27)], (attributed to Drost, as Schatborn, 1985, comparing Benesch 0893); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Jacob de Vos Jbzn (L. 1450); his widow, Abrahamina Henrietta de Vos-Wurfbain; his sale, Amsterdam, C.F. Roos et al., 22 May 1883 and following days, lot 424 (as Rembrandt, with fifteen other drawings), bt Balfoort (dealer), fl. 480, for the Vereniging Rembrandt (L. 2135);1 from which on loan to the Rijksmuseum, 1883, and from whom purchased (as Rembrandt) for fl. 5,049 with 166 other drawings by the present repository, with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt, 1889.
[1] See respectively New York, 2006, no.62 (with previous literature), Berlin, 2018, nos 40, 35 and 39, and Schatborn, 1985, who was the first to attribute the present drawing to Drost.
First posted 12 April 2022.

Benesch 0574
Subject: The Circumcision
Medium: Pen and pale and dark brown ink with pale and dark brown wash and grey wash, with some white bodycolour.
203 x 287.
COMMENTS: The composition reflects that of Rembrandt’s painting of the subject of c.1646, painted for the Stadholder and now only known from copies, including one in Braunschweig (see Fig.a; Wetering 211b).[1] The drawing repeats the central figures but in reverse, with the High Priest himself (with his voluminous robes) performing the ceremony rather than a younger assistant. The arrangement of the spectators behind a balustrade, with St Joseph and the Virgin and other onlookers in the foreground, also echo Rembrandt’s painting. Not wholly unrelated in style is another adaptation of the composition made by a pupil, Benesch 0581.
The present sketch is boldly and broadly executed and, in many places, the most forceful lines correct a finer but still generally confident underdrawing. But the style can only be linked with Rembrandt’s own drawings generically. Some early and now more recent commentators have doubted the drawing’s attribution to Rembrandt (see Literature below), but the free and rough handling resembles some of his documentary drawings from c.1646-53, such as the study for the Portrait of Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius, Benesch 0763, for the Portrait of Jan Six, Benesch 0767 and the St Jerome in an Italian Landscape, Benesch 0886. These may provide pointers for the date of the drawing, which is here placed c.1650.
Parts of the underdrawing resemble some early works of Samuel van Hoogstraten (see Fig.b), but overall, the exceptional breadth of handling in Benesch 0574 make an attribution to him unconvincing.[2] Closer, in the compiler’s view, are Benesch 0480a, Benesch 0502, Benesch 0503, Benesch 0510 and, in its broadest parts, Benesch 0506, all of which are here tentatively associated with Carel Fabritius, most of them towards the end of his career (see Fig.c for a comparison with Benesch 0480a and Benesch 0503). Certainly, the high quality of the present drawing, with the finely drawn characterisations of the two main figures, seems to demand an attribution to a Rembrandt pupil of this calibre, although in our present state of knowledge, the Fabritius connection can only be an exploratory idea. Cf. also Benesch 0556 and Benesch 0559.[3]
An engraving after the drawing was made or published by the print-dealer Naudet (fl.1778-1829),[4] when presumably the drawing was in Paris. It is inscribed: “Rembrandt pinx. Naudet excudit. Gravé d’après le tableau original de Rembrandt 1639”. Such an early date – the authority for which is unknown – seems highly unlikely.
Condition: Good. Some of the corrections in white have become more transparent.
Summary attribution: Carel Fabritius???
Date: 1650?
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv. KdZ 1105)
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Vosmaer, 1868, p.505; Exh. Aachen, 1873, no.314; Exh. Berlin, 1875, p.150, no.11 (c.1645); Vosmaer, 1877, p.588; Michel, 1893, p.572; Lippmann, 1, 19 (Hofstede de Groot suggests copied from the print by Naudet); Seidlitz, 1894, p.122 (doubtful; mid-1640s ); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.49; Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.35 (compares HdG 37 [Berlin, 2018, no.89]); Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.38, repr. (c.1645 or earlier); Van Dyke, 1927, p.95 (s. Koninck); Berlin, 1930, p.224 (c.1640-50); Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.264 (c.1640-50); Lugt, 1930 (seems alien to Rembrandt); Lugt, 1931, p.57 (school of Rembrandt, c.1645; resembles Benesch 0559); Paris, 1933, under no.1275 (Barent Fabritius?; relates to Judas drawing in the Louvre [RF 1980]); Benesch, 1935, p.40; Weski, 1944, p.121 (near Bol); Benesch, 3, no.574, repr. (c.1645-46; compares Benesch 0559; subject treated in painting from the series for the Stadholder – cf. Benesch 0581; also Benesch 0575 for the setting); Exh. Berlin, 1956, no.108 (c.1640-50); Slive, 1965, no.19 (c.1645); Exh. Berlin, 1970, no.45 (c.1645-46); Sumowski, Drawings, under nos. 855xx and 1072xx; Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, under no.74 (iconography more canonical than in the 1654 etching, Bartsch 47; NH 280); Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, under no.58; Ketelsen, 2003, pp.104-5 (school, c.1646 according to Bevers; compares other compositions); Berlin, 2018, no.116, repr. (c.1646; inspired by Rembrandt’s painting of the subject for the Stadholder; notes drawing after the painting by Van den Eeckhout, now in Brussels [S.709x] and versions by Van Hoogstraten [S.1182, in Frankfurt and S.1113, Dresden] as well as Benesch 0581; rejects stylistic association [made by Lugt, 1931] with Benesch 0559; style reminiscent of Van Hoogstraten [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Thomas Lawrence (L.2445; not individually described in Exh. London, 1835); William Esdaile (L.2617); Barthold Suermondt; his collection acquired by the present repository in 1874.
[1] For the series of paintings for the Stadholder, see under Benesch 0382, n.4.
[2] Bevers, in Berlin, 2018, no.116, drew attention to the similarities.
[3] Lugt, 1931, as well as Benesch, 1955, compared Benesch 0559, but the association was rejected by Bevers in Berlin, 2018 (see Literature above).
[4] For Naudet, see (accessed 16 April 2022).
First posted 17 April 2022.

Benesch 0575
Subject: The Presentation in the Temple (Luke, 2, 29-38)
Medium: Black chalk (or charcoal?), heightened with white, on rough, pale brownish-grey rag paper; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink (partly cut away). Inscribed verso in graphite: “[…]andt”
144 x 153.
COMMENTS: The composition, not the easiest to decipher, shows the kneeling Simeon holding the Christ Child on a platform to the left of centre, with Mary and presumably Joseph and other figures on the left, balanced on the right by an apparently corpulent figure descending the stairs, identified as the elderly Prophetess Anna, who witnessed the scene, supporting herself on the shoulder of a child with her left hand and on a stick with her right;[1] further onlookers are on the far right but also above, including a High Priest with his crozier-like staff standing behind a balustrade (cf. the balustrade in Benesch 0574).
Comparable, rough, preliminary sketches by Rembrandt are uncommon, but the documentary study of Joseph Interpreting Dreams of c.1638 (Benesch 0161 verso) has rightly been invoked for comparison. Because of this, the present drawing has also been associated with an etching by Rembrandt, The Presentation in the Temple of c.1640 (see Fig.a), but given the disparity in the two depictions of The Presentation, not least in the positions of the Virgin Mary and the Prophetess Anna, the case for the connection, while possible, is not compelling;[2] and simply because it is such a roughly-drawn study would not have limited its potential usefulness to printmaking. In addition, the breadth of style suggests a later date, as does the technique: the instability of the texture of the lines, many of which are rubbed, makes it highly likely that the artist employed charcoal rather than black chalk, the former being a medium associated with very few drawings by Rembrandt, all generally dated in the early 1640s (cf. Benesch 0459, Benesch 0774-75, and Benesch 0813).[3]
This would suggest that the drawing is a recasting of the etched composition of c.1640 – one might argue an improvement – but as far as is known, it cannot be more directly related to a painting or etching, despite the presence of a balustrade, seen also in Benesch 0574 and elsewhere. There are links in the figures on the left with Benesch 0486, for which a similar date in the early 1640s is preferred. The pentimenti are many, not least in the adjusted placement of Simeon further to the left and in the numerous emphatic, dark lines that clarify the positions and postures of several other figures, so that Benesch 0486 may well depend on the chalk sketch.
An etching by Matthijs Pool, supposedly after Rembrandt but probably after a lost drawing by a follower, records a sketch of the subject with a comparable grouping of the main figures on the left.[4]
Condition: Much rubbed with some losses at the left edge; an old vertical fold left of centre.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1641-42?
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (L.1610; inv. KdZ. 4269).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Amtliche Berichte, 1904, col.VII (note of acquisition); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.1101 (describes what is apparently this drawing in the J.C. Robinson collection, but with the measurements 173 x 152, noting that the collector’s drawings were being auctioned); Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1914, no.37; Kauffmann, 1926, p.174, n.3 (c.1633-34); Berlin, 1930, p.225 (c.1630 or earlier; perhaps authentic); Lugt, 1931, p.57 (notes description by Hofstede de Groot); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.312, repr. (c.1633; authenticity hard to judge because of condition); Benesch, 1935, p.40; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.575, repr. fig.709/744 (c.1646; synthesis of Benesch 0486 with the architecture of Benesch 0574; compares Benesch 0578-79 and Benesch 0717-18); Tümpel, 1969, pp.190-92; Exh. Berlin, 1970, no.50, repr. (c.1646); Giltaij, 1977, pp.4-6 (c.1640); Schatborn, 1978, p.134 (c.1640; compared with Benesch 0013); Sumowski, Drawings, 7, under nos. 1072xx (comparing a drawing by A. de Gelder) and 1753xx; Amsterdam, 1981, under no.8, n.2; Giltaij, 1989, pp.111-12 and 115 (c.1640; compares Benesch 0013 and etching Bartsch 49; NH 184); Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, pp.37-38 and under nos 51 and 54 (Schatborn: might be a preliminary sketch for an etching, like Benesch 0161); Bonebakker, 2003, pp.38-40 and n.44 (not really related to etching Bartsch 49; NH 184); Berlin, 2006, no.25, repr. (c.1640; following Giltaij, 1977/1989, compares Benesch 0161 verso and suggests that like that drawing, it may have been a sketch for an etching – the etched version of the subject of c.1640, Bartsch 49; NH 184 [dated in NH to c.1639]; compares Benesch 0013 and Munich, 1973, no.1113 [for which see under the ‘Not in Benesch’ tab, 1641?] but the handling here looser; compares Anna in the drawing to Zacharias in painting of The Visitation, c.1640, Bredius 0562; Wetering 174); Exh. Los Angeles, 2009-10, no.26.1, repr. (c.1640; as Berlin, 2006); Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.62 and 501, repr. fig. 68 (used to illustrate a passage from Van Hoogstraten, 1678, concerning correct arrangement of figures in a composition; that Anna here leans on a boy may explain the presence of a boy in the Edinburgh painting of Anna [Bredius 577; Wetering 210 of c.1646 or 1650], to suggest her old age); Schatborn, 2019, no.67, repr. (c.1641).
PROVENANCE: J.C. Robinson? (see Hofstede de Groot, 1906, in Literature above); William Bates (L.2604); P.&D. Colnaghi & Co., London, from whom purchased by the present repository in 1903.
[1] Luke, 2, 36-38 (King James Version): (36) And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; (37) And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. (38) And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
[2] As noted by Bonebakker, 2003 (see Literature above).
[3] It might be argued that the unusual textures were caused by the roughness of the paper, but to the present writer the quality of line appears entirely consistent with the use of charcoal rather than chalk. Charcoal is also more prone to loss through rubbing than chalk (unless it is properly fixed).
[4] Wurzbach 41 – see (accessed 22 April 2022).
First posted 23 April 2022.

Benesch 0576
Subject: Abraham Entertaining the Angels (Genesis, 18, 1-15)
Medium: Pen (reed pen) and brown ink, touched with brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
106 x 128.
COMMENTS: The composition, like that of Benesch 0577 (qv), is related to Rembrandt’s small oil-sketch of the same subject of 1646 (see Fig.a).[1] In both cases, because of the differences with the painting, the drawings have sometimes passed as preliminary sketches for it.
With Benesch 0576, the theory is supported by the differences in the pose of the nearer angel as well as Abraham and Sarah, as also by the lack of wings for the Almighty. But the style mitigates entirely against the supposition: not only is the drawing executed with the reed pen, which Rembrandt only seems to have adopted in the 1650s, but the deliberated, regularly-spaced, parallel hatching below and at the upper right is also first – and only occasionally – encountered in Rembrandt in this later period.
In many respects the style resembles that of drawings attributed to Willem Drost, dating from the early 1650s (for his style, see under Benesch 0573), especially in the more broadly executed works among them (see Fig.b; note the parallel hatching, not least above St Peter’s knees in the drawing on the right). But as attributions to Drost are at best provisional, and because the drawing stands at a certain distance from those that are widely accepted as belonging to the “Drost” group of drawings, the idea is only here put forward with the utmost hesitation. Nonetheless the drawing impresses for its breadth and confidence. An attribution to Nicolaes Maes has been suggested, but although some of the forms are simplified in his drawings in a comparable way, the idea has not been followed.[2] Other Rembrandt pupils produced analogous versions of the subject, especially Ferdinand Bol, in a disputed painting of around 1650,[3] and Samuel van Hoogstaten (see under Benesch 0577, Fig.a).
Condition: Uncertain, but to judge from Benesch’s illustration it was good in the mid-20th century, with minor staining across the top and a few foxmarks.
Summary attribution: Willem Drost??
Date: 1650-55?
COLLECTION: USA, Private Collection?
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Valentiner, 1921, p.55; Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.13, repr. (probably Rembrandt, c.1646; Falck believes a school work); Berlin, 1930, p.238, under no.117; Exh. Berlin, 1930, no.359; Paris, 1933, p.2, under no.1110 (c.1645); Benesch, 1935, p.38; Amsterdam, 1942, p.51, under no.103 (probably Rembrandt); Lugt, 1944, p.338, n.25 (probably Rembrandt); Benesch, 1947, no.141, repr.; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.576, repr. fig.707/746 (with Benesch 0577, a study for the 1646 painting, Bredius 515; Wetering 208; broad style, as with Benesch 0572, anticipates later drawings); Sumowski, 1956, pp.9-10 (style of c.1660; if Rembrandt, a later recreation of his painting of 1646); Drost, 1960, p.151 (Rembrandt; Elsheimer influence); Van Gelder, 1961, p.151, n.18 (doubtful); Van Hasselt, 1961, p.50, under no.50 ([according to Sumowski, Drawings] school work); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.53 (imitation based on the painting); Sumowski, 1961, p.12 (Maes, c.1655?); Gantner, 1964, p.131; Bauch, 1966, p.2 (probably a school work); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.32 (school); Bredius-Gerson, 1969, p.600, under no.515 (school); Gerson, 1969, under no.214 (school); Exh. Berlin, 1970, under no.28 (school); Exh. Washington-Denver-Fort Worth, 1977, under no.74 (probably a copy after Rembrandt by Van Hoogstraten); Sumowski, Drawings, 5, 1981, under no.1133x (doubtful as Rembrandt); Sumowski, Drawings, 8, 1984, no.1964x, repr. (Maes, c.1655; Rembrandt probably would not have made a sketch for such a small painting; style resembles Benesch 1034 of c.1654-55; compares Maes drawings of Eavesdropper in Cambridge UK, S. 1769, and ex-Dalhousie Woman with Candle, S. 1773); Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.423-24, repr. fig.6 (S. van Hoogstraten; wrongly states that Sumowski did not consider the drawing; Bruyn [in notes for compilation of Corpus] suggested Van Hoogstraten and a fragmentary sketch for a Lamentation of Abel by him [S.1170x] compared and repr. fig.9; both Benesch 0576-77 considered variants derived from the painting of 1646); Berlin, 2018, under no.91 (Van Hoogstraten, later than Benesch 0577) . [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Max Liebermann; Mrs Katherine Riezler, New York City (according to Benesch, 1955/73).[4]
[1] The painting was offered for sale in New York by Sotheby’s, 28 January 2021, lot 9, repr. but withdrawn before the auction.
[2] See Literature above – Sumowski, Drawings, 1984, no.1964x; while the stylistic comparisons he made may not convince, he rightly questions whether Rembrandt himself would have made a preparatory drawing for such a small oil-sketch. The drawing was not included by Robinson, 1996.
[3] See Sumowski, Gemälde, no.2006, repr.; Corpus, 5, 2011, p.422, fig.4 (as by Bol); Leja, 2013 (online), repr. fig.8 (noting the doubt expressed by Eikema Hommes, 2012, pp.105-9). For a later variant of c.1660-63, see Sumowski, Gemälde, 3, 1981, no.107, repr.. The suggestion in Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.423-24 that the drawing is by Van Hoogstraten is (in the compiler’s opinion) insufficiently supported by the latter’s drawings. A version by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout of 1656 and now in the Hermitage, St Petersburg, is repr. Sumowski, Gemälde, 2, 1983, no.422.
[4] One drawing from this collection, Benesch 0933, was sold in London, Christie’s, 9 December, 1982, lot 80, as “From a continental collection”.
First posted 27 April 2022.

Benesch 0577
Subject: Abraham Entertaining the Angels (Genesis, 18, 1-15)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with some white bodycolour; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
105 x 122. Watermark: fragment, perhaps a coat-of-arms.
COMMENTS: Like Benesch 0576 (qv), the drawing is related to Rembrandt’s small oil study of the subject of 1646 (see under Benesch 0576, Fig.a). Many early commentators, noting such details as the pentimento in the position of Anna in the doorway to the right and other minor discrepancies with the oil, took the drawing to be a preparatory study for it by Rembrandt himself (see Literature below). But in style the drawing stands apart from anything by Rembrandt and closer to the work of two of his pupils during the 1640s, Samuel van Hoogstraten and Nicolaes Maes.[1]
The stylistic evidence for either attribution is somewhat sketchy, but the existence of a more finished version by Van Hoogstraten increases the probability that the drawing is by him (see Fig.a). But as noted under Benesch 0576, other versions and variants by Rembrandt’s pupils survive, and as the style here is not persuasively attachable to Van Hoogstraten’s more certain drawings, the attribution to him here is not acceded to without hesitation. The exceptionally mechanical passages in the drawing – not least in the angel to the left – might argue against an attribution to either of these artists, although there are occasional drawings by Van Hoogstraten that provide some acceptable comparisons (see Fig.b and the details below).
Condition: Generally good; some surface dirt, especially near the upper left edge (where it appears as if a column of numbers was transferred by offsetting).
Summary attribution: Samuel van Hoogstraten?
Date: 1646-50 (or later)?
COLLECTION: D Berlin, Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett (inv. KdZ 11741).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, 1922 ed., no.2a, repr. (probably a copy after Rembrandt’s 1646 painting); Valentiner, 1922, p.54, repr. pl.55 (study by Rembrandt for his 1646 painting); Valentiner, 1, 1925, no.12, repr. (perhaps after Rembrandt by Maes or Van Hoogstraten); Berlin, 1930, pp.238-39 (probably after Rembrandt by Maes or Van Hoogstraten); Lugt, 1931, p.62 (“style of” [in der Art von] Rembrandt); Benesch, 1935, p.38; Lugt, 1944, p.338, n.25 (probably by Rembrandt for the painting); Weski, 1944, p.135 (c.1646); Amsterdam, 1942, under no.103 (doubtful if Rembrandt); Lugt, 1944, p.338, n.25 (probably by Rembrandt); Benesch, 1947, under no.141; Benesch, 3, 1955, under no.576 and no.577, repr. fig.706/747(autograph sketch for Rembrandt’s 1646 painting; Benesch 0576 another version by him); Sumowski, 1956-57, p.256 (not Rembrandt as too close to final painting); Drost, 1960, p.151 (Rembrandt, influenced by Elsheimer gouache in Frankfurt); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.53 (copy after the painting; Anna drawn twice – “copyists can also make mistakes”); Van Gelder, 1961, p.151, n.18 (by F. Bol?); Sumowski, 1961, p.12, and 1962, p.275 (probably Van Hoogstraten, c.1646); Van Hasselt, 1961-62, p.50, under no.53 ([according to Sumowski, 1981] school work); Gantner, 1964, p.131 (Rembrandt); Bauch, 1966, under no.27 (presumably school work); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.34 (probably school work); Sumowski, 1966, p.303 (Van Hoogstraten, c.1646); Bredius-Gerson, 1969, under no.515 (copy after Rembrandt’s painting); Gerson, 1969, under no.214 (school work); Exh. Berlin, 1970, under no.4, repr. and no.28 (copy after Rembrandt); Exh. Washington-Denver-Fort Worth, 1977, under no.74 (attribution to Rembrandt questionable); Sumowski, 5, 1981, under no.1132x, and no.1133x repr. (Van Hoogstraten, an “excerpt’ from the 1646 painting by Rembrandt; compares Benesch 0567 to dismiss attribution to Rembrandt; perhaps used for Dresden version [for which see main text above and Fig.a]) and under no.1526axx (variant by P. Koninck, formerly attributed to Elsheimer, in Frankfurt inv.13954); Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.423-24, repr. fig.7 (S. van Hoogstraten; both Benesch 0576-77 considered variants by him derived from the painting of 1646); Berlin, 2018, no.91, repr. (Van Hoogstraten, c.1646-48; as Sumowski, 1981). [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Adolf von Beckerath (1834-1915), with whose collection acquired in 1902 by the present repository in return for a lifetime annuity.
[1] Valentiner, 1925, already mentioned both these names (see Literature above).
First posted 30 April 2022.

Benesch 0578
Subject: The Adoration of the Shepherds (Luke, 2, 15-17)
Verso: See Inscriptions
Medium: Black chalk. Inscribed verso, upper left, on its side, in pen and brown ink, with a fragment of Rembrandt’s signature: “Rem”; next to this the remains of a loop resembling the trail of the “R” in the adjacent signature, but cut at the edge of the sheet; at lower right, also on its side, the date (also in Rembrandt’s hand): “ […]en 15 Januw / 1644”; in the centre, in graphite, the inventory no.: “Inv. No. 1619”
126 x 92 (top corners trimmed away). Watermark: none; chain lines: 25h.
COMMENTS: Benesch 0578-79 are clearly by the same hand and discussed together here. They have received a bad press since their first publication in Benesch’s catalogue. Some commentators soon dismissed them as imitations while others saw them only as part of the wider group of imitations in Munich (see Literature below).
There are various reasons for challenging this prevailing view. The first is the inscription on the verso of Benesch 0578 (see illustration). There seems to be no reason to doubt the authenticity of the incipient Rembrandt signature – despite the exaggerated loop of the initial “R” – and the date on the verso. The writing of the date, especially, is entirely compatible with the date at the lower left of Rembrandt’s third letter to Constantine Huygens of 12 January 1639 (see Fig.a): the drawing only takes the word as far as the “w” of the “Januwarius” seen in the letter, but has the same break immediately before this final character. The way the “en” is written in the “deesen” in the letter is precisely the same as the cut off start of the inscription on the drawing, while the spacing, placement and quality of the other letters and digits is close to inseparable.
To claim that the verso inscription is autograph, but that the drawing is not, stretches a point, and becomes yet more unlikely given the close analogies in style between the recto and other generally-accepted sketches by Rembrandt. Indeed, analogies even extend to two documentary drawings, Benesch 0013 and Benesch 0749 recto. For example, the abbreviated geometry in the central figures of both Benesch 0578-79 is mirrored in Benesch 0749, especially in the child at the lower right, whose simplified line for his back is remarkably similar, along with his geometrical construction, a characteristic of many figures in both our drawings (see Fig.b and the drawing on the left thereof). The delicate parallel shading, at a slant to the picture plane, is also similar. And Benesch 0013 (see on the right of Fig.b), despite a significant difference in scale, again relates well to the two smaller sheets, especially in the kneeling figure of the Ethiopian convert.
If we stray from the documentary sheets to other, generally accepted drawings by Rembrandt, the analogies become yet closer – Benesch 0382 verso being among the most convincing, whether in the main figures or those in the background (see Fig.c).[1]
Of course, thumbnail sketches of this kind are rare in Rembrandt’s work, making it particularly difficult to restore these two drawings to Rembrandt’s oeuvre. But there do not seem to be any good reasons for rejecting them, and the above comparisons serve sufficiently to substantiate their inclusion. In addition, Benesch A042, Benesch A043 and Benesch A043a, though all doubted, seem again to be stylistically compatible with Benesch 578-79 and the other drawings here compared with them, especially Benesch 0382 verso, and thus also to be by Rembrandt. The first of these, Benesch A042, which might raise some eyebrows because of its slackness of line, is in fact also comparable (see the entries for all these drawings under the Not in Benesch tab).[2]
Despite their sketchy nature, the iconography of all these drawings is entirely clear. Given their small scale, this fact alone reveals something about their inherent quality: one of the chief criticisms levelled at Benesch 0578-79 is that the draughtsmanship is “too chaotic” for Rembrandt (see Literature); yet they are arguably less so than Benesch 0013, illustrated in Fig.b, or Benesch 0575, which is also mentioned above. The two drawings under discussion here both clearly represent the Adoration of the Shepherds, rather than the Magi, clinched by the presence of a crook, slanting away from the figures kneeling in the left foreground of Benesch 0578, held by a standing shepherd who leans forward with a standing man next to him – perhaps a first adumbration of St Joseph – and of one of their sheep, described by a few deft touches at the lower left of Benesch 0579, with what appears to be a bowl and a wheelbarrow below (the latter already indicated in Benesch 0578). Remarkable in these drawings, far from any superficial “chaos”, is the degree of their legibility, with the spatial recession also conveyed by the strong differentiation of touch between the heavier accents in the foreground and the much lighter, more delicate touch for the figures behind.
Rembrandt’s painting of this subject in Munich of 1646, one of the series painted in the 1630s-40s for Frederik Hendrik, Prince of Orange (for which see under Benesch 0382, n.4), has many features in common with Benesch 0578-79 (see Fig.d; Bredius 574; Wetering 211a): the rounded arches at the top of all three compositions are the same (tentatively touched in in Benesch 0578 but mostly cut away in the case of Benesch 0579, although still incipiently visible at the upper left corner); the worshippers are grouped to the left, with other acolytes further behind, also to the left; the holy family is arranged similarly and in the case of St Joseph, the painting and Benesch 0579 coincide precisely; but in an extraordinary change, the groups are combined in the painting by the proto-Goyaesque shepherd seen from behind, transforming the main figure group into a circular arrangement. The animals are placed in the right background and the shaded interior at the top right of Benesch 0579 anticipates the overall background gloom, with a hint of the supporting pillar and a slanting beam to the right that prefigures the arrangement in the painting, in which the pillar is moved more to the left, behind St Joseph, to form a key element in the structure of the design, and the strut becomes a ladder.
There is nothing in these alterations to suggest that we are dealing here with a pupil’s derivation from the painting. On the contrary, everything about the style of these two drawings suggests that they are preliminary and at times tentative rough drafts that work towards the final, painted composition.[3] As such they would have earned a place on the documentary drawings’ list were it not for the doubts expressed in the past on their autograph status. As the painting is dated 1646, they must date from that year or slightly before, expressed here by assigning them to 1644-46, which also takes the verso inscription into account. But that they might be a little earlier is suggested by the similarities to Benesch 0382 verso (1641-45), which shows the Adoration of the Magi – a subject that Rembrandt might have intended, at some point, to include in in his series of paintings for the Stadholder, Frederik Hendrik (see under Benesch 0382, n.4).
Condition: Some spots and staining but generally good.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1644-46.
COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (inv.1619).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, under no.575 and no.578, repr. (1646, for the Munich painting, Bredius 574; Wetering 211a; Benesch 0578 came before Benesch 0579; style relates to Benesch 0575); Rosenberg, 1959, p.113 (imitation, as also Benesch 0579-80 as also Benesch A042, A043, A043a and perhaps Benesch 1058-60); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.53 (as Rosenberg, 1959, with wider discussion of the Munich imitations); Munich, 1973, no.1143; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.62, n.2 (not Rembrandt); Royalton-Kisch, 1998, p.622, n.12 (15 January 1644 date on verso an autograph inscription); Paris, 2010, under no.12 (school work that may be based on Benesch 0283 verso); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.364 and p.443, repr. p.444, fig.8, and p.454 (based on Rembrandt’s painting in Munich [on which see above]; draughtsmanship too “chaotic” for Rembrandt); This Catalogue online, under Benesch 0382, 8 August 2018; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620).
[1] Compare also, for example, Benesch 0375, Benesch 0575 and Benesch 0595.
[2] Note also the literature on these drawings under the Not in Benesch tab. Schatborn in Paris, 2010, under no.12, suggested they might be based on Benesch 382 verso – not the most obvious drawing to use as a model.
[3] Compare the different character of the drawn copy after the painting, attributed to Samuel van Hoogstraten in the British Museum (Sumowski 1792x; London, 2010 [online], Van Hoogstraten, no.3; inv.1895,0915.1203 – see
First posted 8 September 2022.

Benesch 0579
Subject: The Adoration of the Shepherds (Luke, 2, 15-17)
Medium: Black chalk, with some white in the centre of the sheet. Inscribed in dark brown ink, lower left: “5130”
130 x 98 (top corners trimmed away); chain lines: 25v.
COMMENTS: See under Benesch 0578.
Condition: Some spots and staining, especially towards the upper right.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt.
Date: 1644-46.
COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (inv.1449).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, under no.575 and no.579, repr. (1646, for the Munich painting, Bredius 574; Wetering 211a; Benesch 0578 came before Benesch 0579; style relates to Benesch 0575); Rosenberg, 1959, p.113 (imitation, as also Benesch 0578, 0580 as also Benesch A042, A043, A043a and perhaps Benesch 1058-60); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.53 (as Rosenberg, 1959, with wider discussion of the Munich imitations); Munich, 1973, no.1142; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.62, n.2 (not Rembrandt); Corpus, 5, 2011, p.364, p.431, p.433, n.22, p.443, repr. fig.9, and p.454 (based on Rembrandt’s painting in Munich [on which see above]; draughtsmanship too “chaotic” for Rembrandt; inscription ‘deviates’ from Rembrandt’s handwriting); Paris, 2010, under no.12 (school work that may be based on Benesch 0283 verso); This Catalogue online, under Benesch 0382, 8 August 2018; [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620).
First posted 8 September 2022.

Benesch 0580
Subject: The Adoration of the Shepherds (Luke, 2, 15-17)
Verso: See inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink. Inscribed on the mount in pen and brown ink: “Adoration of the Shepherds. Rembrandt” and in graphite: “Lord St Helens? Prout Collection” and also in graphite on verso: “Adoration of the Shepherds / Rembrandt van Rijn / Lord St Helens Collection”
100 x 84 (top corners trimmed away).
COMMENTS: The composition, with its arched top, like Benesch 0578-79 (qqv), is clearly related to Rembrandt’s painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds of 1646, now in Munich (see Fig.a; Bredius 574; Wetering 211a). However, it has been generally ignored or dismissed since its publication by Benesch, and has also been associated with the Munich forgeries.[1]
Certainly the drawing is unprepossessing, and has a superficial similarity to some of the Munich “forgeries”, which are, however, generally much weaker. Far closer is Benesch 0139A (see Fig.b), a drawing that many authorities have doubted but without associating it with the Munich drawings (a question-mark is placed against it here). This leaves us with something of a quandary, as the larger drawing seems to date from around 1652-55, significantly later than the Munich painting in Fig.a.
Nevertheless, it has to be noted that the drawing does seem to be a half-way house between Benesch 0578 and Benesch 0579 on the one hand, and the painting: the shepherd nearest the spectator is now moved to the right, almost assuming his position in the oil, while other details that might logically have been indicated if the drawing were derived from the painting are omitted: the pillar behind Mary is barely detectable, while the strong diagonal of the ladder to the right is left out altogether, as is the kneeling figure on the left. From the point of view of style, too, the drawing has a freedom of touch that undermines the impression that it could be by a copyist. One theoretical possibility is that the drawing is based on a now lost preliminary sketch by Rembrandt of c.1646.
Given the stylistic analogies with Benesch 0139A, the drawing is included in the ‘attributed to’ section of this catalogue, but with an additional, second question-mark.
Condition: Good, though with trimmed corners at top and some surface dirt in the upper area.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt??
Date: 1652-55?
COLLECTION: GB Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum (inv.5036; accession no.2141).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955, no.580, repr. (study for 1646 painting [on which see Comments above]; later than Benesch 0578-579; closer to final painting; wheelbarrow omitted); [Not in Schatborn, 2018].
PROVENANCE: A. Fitzherbert, Lord St Helens? (see inscriptions recto and verso); Prout (see recto inscriptions); Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon; bequeathed to the present repository by Charles Shannon, 1937.
[1] As noted on the Fitzwilliam Museum’s website: “Same hand as the group of imitations in Munich” ( [accessed 13 September 2022]). The compiler believes this may be based on a remark he made to the curator, David Scrase, in Cambridge, probably in the 1990s. For the Munich forgeries, see Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, and Burmester and Renger, 1986 and 2003 (with previous literature)
First posted 15 September 2022.

Benesch 0581
Subject: The Circumcision (Luke, 2, 21)
Verso: See Inscriptions
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash, with some white bodycolour, and spotted with in red chalk. Inscribed in pen and dark brown ink, lower left: “5133”; lower right in blue crayon: “63”; on verso in violet ink: “Inv. No. 1385”
234 x 204 (arched top). Watermark: Foolscap with three bells (comparable to Heawood 1921, 1923 and 1926, 1640s).
COMMENTS: Like Benesch A43 and A43a (qqv under the Not in Benesch tab), the drawing is related to the painting of the same subject made for the Stadholder and completed in 1646, and now only known through a copy in Braunschweig (see Fig.a).[1] The drawing is closer to the final composition than the other two sketches but is generally regarded as a preparatory study. Differences with the painting include the standing figure on the extreme right and the ledge or baldachin jutting out above the officiating priest, while in the painting the rabbi holding the staff is moved somewhat more to the right and the two figures below him with the child are recast into a more compact group.
Despite these differences, the compiler – since first studying the drawing in Munich in 1988 – has never been persuaded of the drawing’s autograph status, for a plethora of reasons, including the following:
1. The wider proportion of the whole composition in the drawing – not in itself a conclusive objection but unusual for Rembrandt. Given that what we see as the earlier drawing, Benesch A43a, has already been narrowed to a greater degree, the change back to a wider design runs counter to expectations, especially in a drawing that is so close to the painting as executed (particularly if, as has been mooted, the drawing was made to try out changes Rembrandt wished to introduce after the painting had been begun).[2] But it must be conceded that this will not be regarded as a strong argument, especially by those who do not believe that Benesch A043a is by Rembrandt.
2. The style of the figure-drawing belongs with Rembrandt’s compositional sketches of around a decade later than the 1646 painting, to 1656 or even later still: the simplification of the outlines resembles that in the documentary drawings related to the Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deyman of 1656 and the Claudius Civilis of 1661-62 (respectively Benesch 1175 and Benesch 1058; see Fig.b).[3]
3. There are no stylistically comparable figure-sketches from the time of the 1646 painting. Compare among the documentary drawings Benesch 0736 (The Star of the Kings), Benesch 0188 (for the Hundred Guilder Print) and both Benesch 0762a and Benesch 0763 (Portrait of Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius).
4. Several aspects of the draughtsmanship are unusual for Rembrandt, including the breadth to which the penlines swell in the main figure group and the generally messy, imprecise (one might add indelicate) description of the forms. One might compare Benesch 0480a. In addition, the use of wash in different tones combined with the use of the tip of the brush, for example describing the architectural feature at the upper centre right, gives a pictorial effect, but one that differs from Rembrandt’s own forays into this sphere, as in Benesch 0516 – a drawing thought to date from the same period but which again shows few stylistic parallels with Benesch 0581. The loosely-drawn, abbreviated heads of the figures behind the balustrade to the left also connect more closely with drawings by pupils, such as Benesch 0536 and Benesch 0562, than with any by Rembrandt; and the steep angle of the shading in Benesch 0581, confined to the area of the figure group on the right, is at a much steeper angle than we usually find in Rembrandt, more a north by northeast than a north-easterly slant, something again found in Benesch 0562 and also in Benesch 0514-15.
While some of these similarities occur in drawings mentioned above that belong to the “Carel Fabritius” group (for which see under Benesch 0500), including Benesch 0574 also, with its loose and free handling, there are, as yet insufficient grounds for including Benesch 0581 among them. But if not by him, the drawing may the work of a pupil active in Rembrandt’s workshop around the same period and while the painting was being prepared.
Nevertheless the drawing remains something of an enigma, as although in style it seems to belong to a period significantly later than the 1646 painting, and although in detail it adheres to the composition of the oil reasonably closely, its slack handling does not display the evenness of touch that is so often characteristic of copies. Could it be a pupil’s emulation, based on work in progress on the lost painting, or on a lost preparatory drawing by Rembrandt? Or by a pupil who, like Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, was asked to make a copy of the painting (see Fig.c)?[4] A further possibility is that some of the elaborations executed with the brush are corrections by Rembrandt – the dark area to the top left being not unlike the wash in Benesch 0516, for example. But overall the compiler remains unconvinced and unable to include the drawing in the present catalogue without at least one question-mark (at present there are two). To be persuaded otherwise would require a refutation of all the main arguments listed above, apart from the first and weakest (concerning the width of the composition).
The iconography of the Circumcision usually includes, as here, the Virgin Mary, but it has been pointed out that while infants were usually circumcised eight days after birth, which mothers were not permitted to enter the temple until 40 days later.[5] Rembrandt’s composition, in some ways a throw-back to his second etching of the subject of around 1630 (Bartsch 48; NH 55), has rightly been compared with the engraving by Hendrick Goltzius dating from 1584 and part of his series on the Life of the Virgin known as the ‘Masterpieces’ (see Fig.d; Bartsch 12; NH 11).[6]
Tümpel pointed out that most versions of the scene include Mary, though the Circumcision was meant to take place within eight days of birth and the mother was not permitted to enter the temple until forty days after the birth.
Condition: Generally good, but with some foxing in the upper half of the sheet.
Summary attribution: Rembrandt??
Date: 1655?
COLLECTION: D Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (L.620; L.2723; L.1615; L.2673; inv.1385 [formerly 5133]).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Schmidt, 1884-93, no.148, repr.; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.377; Neumann, 1918, no.80, repr.; Valentiner, 1923, p.111 (related to related to lost painting [on which see Comments above]); Valentiner, 2, 1934, no.309, repr.; Benesch, 1935, p.38; Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.581, repr. fig.712/751 (as Valentiner, 1923; compares Benesch 0580 and relates to Benesch A043 and A043a); Exh. Munich, 1957, no.47; Gerson, 1961, p.11, n.18; Munich, 1973, no.1114, repr. pl.314 (doubtful); Schatborn, 1978, p.134 (authentic, pace Wegner in Munich, 1973); Sumowski, Drawings, 5, 1981, under no.1100; Corpus, 1, 1982, p.22 (for Rembrandt a rare example of a full composition sketch; probably for lost painting); Sumowski, Drawings, 6, 1986, under no.1541x (Rembrandt); Exh. Munich, 1983-84, no.74; Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.58, repr. (c.1656; as Valentiner, 1923; shows Presentation in the Temple as well as the Circumcision); Ketelsen, 2003; Manuth, 2003; Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.429-30, repr. fig.2 (for the painting; compares Benesch 1061; perhaps made while work in progress on the painting); Berlin, 2018, under no.116, n.5 (disputed attribution); Schatborn, 2019, no.82, repr. (c.1646; as Valentiner, 1923).
PROVENANCE: Elector (Kurfürst) Carl Theodor (1724-1799), Munich (L.620).
[1] For the series of paintings made for the Stadholder, see Benesch 0382, n.4.
[2] See Corpus, 5, 2011, p.431.
[3] The compiler is not completely persuaded that the latter drawing is certainly by Rembrandt himself.
[4]See Sumowski, Drawings, 3, 1980, no.709x, repr., and Corpus, 5, 2011, pp.429-30.
[5] Tümpel in Exh. Berlin, 1970, under no.44.
[6] As pointed out (for the painting) by Valentiner, 1905, p.107.
First posted 22 September 2022.

Benesch 0582
Subject: Tobias Cleaning the Fish, with the Angel (Tobit, 6, 7)
Medium: Pen and brown ink with brown wash. Inscribed
165 x 180.
COMMENTS: Given the generally dry handling of the pen, the poor details (such as the angel’s right arm and hand) and the often laboured outlines, it is somewhat surprising that Benesch included the drawing in his catalogue. One might easily conclude that it is the work of an undistinguished pupil were it not for the fact that these qualities sometimes surface in drawings by or attributed to Samuel van Hoogstraten (see Fig.a and the caption). The visual evidence, however, is insufficiently convincing to put his name forward in anything but the most tentative manner. Probably the drawing is the work of another pupil, either of the 1640s (like Van Hoogstraten) or somewhat later (like Willem Drost, who studied with Rembrandt in around 1650).
For Rembrandt’s treatment of subjects from the Book of Tobit, see under Benesch 0492. The same subject is illustrated in Benesch 0497. The style here resembles that of Benesch 0636, another Tobit subject (and just for the subject, cf. Benesch 0933).
Condition: Generally good; some spotting, especially near the edges.
Summary attribution: School of Rembrandt (Samuel van Hoogstraten??)
Date: 1645-55?
COLLECTION: USA Kansas, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust; inv. 61-25/1).
FURTHER LITERATURE/REMARKS: Benesch, 3, 1955/73, no.582, repr. (c.1646-47; compares especially for style Benesch 0573 and Benesch 0576; also Benesch 0583, Benesch 0585-6, and Benesch 0748); Anon., 1961, p.304; Taggart, 1961, pp.1-4; Sutton, 1972, p.472; Kansas, 1973, p.182; Exh. Kansas, 1983, no.57; Exh. Jackson (Mississippi), 1992 (no cat.); Exh. Tulsa-Jacksonville-Hanover, 1996-97, no.26; Exh. Kansas, 2012-13 (no cat.); [Not in Schatborn, 2019.]
PROVENANCE: Unknown collector with mark on verso (a cursive “D”, not in Lugt); Marsden J. Perry (1850-1935), Providence, RI (L.1880); W.R. Valentiner (1880-1958), Raleigh, NC; Harry Bertoia (1915-1978), Bally, PA, from whom purchased by the present repository in 1961.
First posted 27 September 2022.

TEMPORARY MESSAGE: I am currently spending a few months catching up with literature, especially with items that were unavailable to me during the Covid lockdowns. At the same time I am ensuring that every reference to drawings in some major publications, such as the six Corpus volumes or Seymour Slive’s book of 2009, are now either online (in those cases they are already) or noted for incorporation in future catalogue entries.