Rembrandt van Rijn, Four Orientals seated under a tree, a drawing

The Netherlands, after AD 1656

Based on Mughal minatures from India

This unusual scene is one of a series of drawings that Rembrandt freely based on seventeenth- century Mughal miniatures from India. It is likely that Rembrandt studied these figures because he was fascinated by their costumes. In many of his paintings and self-portraits, his love of costumes and elaborate hats or turbans is evident. Here he concentrates on the textiles and turbans.

The miniature that formed the basis for this drawing is probably that in the Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, dated AH 1037 (AD 1627/28). It is interesting is that some of the delicacy of the original miniature, notably in the faces, has been transferred by Rembrandt to his own freely drawn version. This drawing is thought to date from after 1656 when Rembrandt made an etching of Abraham and the angels which was inspired by the design copied here.

The drawing has been made on oriental paper that has been prepared with a pale brown wash. The figures are drawn in pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash. Some parts have been heightened with white with some areas scraped out. The tree is freely drawn in wash with the birds and few leaves sketchily added in pen and ink.

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More information


M. Royalton-Kisch, H. Chapman and S. Coppel, Old Master drawings from the M, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1996)

M. Royalton-Kisch, Drawings by Rembrandt and his, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)


Height: 193.000 mm
Width: 124.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1895-9-15-1275



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