- Museum number
Naked woman seated on a mound; whole-length, to right, facing front; second state with shading on left thigh burnished out. c.1631
Watermark: Double-headed eagle (Hinterding catalogue, variant A.a.a., datable 1632-34)
- Production date
- 1631 (circa)
Height: 177 millimetres
Width: 160 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Copied by Wenceslaus Hollar (Pennington 603), see 1850,0223.314.
Selected Literature: Wurzbach 1876, p. 287; Slive 1953, p. 83; Reznicek 1977, pp. 91-9; Berlin-Amsterdam-London 1991-2, pp. 182-4; no. 6; Melbourne-Canberra 1997-8, no. 99; White 1999, pp. 193 and 195.
Hinterding et al. 2000:
In style, scale and format the 'Naked woman seated on a mound' is inseparable from the 'Diana at the bath' (see 1829,0415.17). They share the contrast between areas of methodical hatching or of detail (here especially in the figure) and less worked-up parts - as in the background, with its incipient tree-trunk rising on the right. Only in the more frequent use of a solid outline - kept to a minimum in the 'Diana' - is there a significant difference of approach. If, as seems likely, the two prints were conceived as a pair, then Rembrandt may have intended the present work to depict another mythological figure, such as one of Diana's nymphs. [That she might be a nymph associated with Diana was suggested in general terms by Welzel in Berlin-Amsterdam-London 1991-2, pp. 182-4, no. 6]. Of the latter, the most frequently represented in art is Callisto, the discovery of whose impregnation by Zeus led to her banishment and metamorphosis into a bear. The exceptionally distended stomach (even more than the Diana's) might support such an identification, along with the indications of shrubbery, the nymph's natural habitat, but it is characteristic of Rembrandt to supply insufficiently conclusive iconographic indications. [Similar logic could argue the reverse, or that both prints were intended to represent either Diana or Callisto: the 'Diana at the bath' omits the goddess' crescent moon, and the quiver is equally appropriate to both].
Rembrandt's figure was apparently inspired by Annibale Carracci's etching of 'Susannah and the elders'. Yet in Rembrandt's own representation of Susannah in a painting of 1636, she seems less overtly rotund and her expression circumspect [Corpus A117; Bredius 505]. The poses of both the 'Naked woman' and, more especially, the 'Diana' also bear some resemblance to a print of 'Bathsheba combing her hair' by Willem Buytewech. For type they have also been compared with works by Rubens and Jordaens; yet Rembrandt's vision remains unorthodox. [Reznicek 1977. Wurzbach 1876, believed that the print represented Saskia, but despite a general resemblance, even if Rembrandt knew her at this stage in his career she would probably not have posed nude for him].
Reworking the plate in the second state, Rembrandt refined the lighting, allowing more to fall on the figure's thigh, stomach and right foot by burnishing lines away, while darkening her right shoulder, the shadows in the face and filling small areas left too pale behind her left calf and beneath both shoulders. The effect is somewhat less luminous.
One wonders what prompted Hollar to make the copy of the 'Naked woman seated on a mound': a desire to emulate Rembrandt, or was it a trial for employment as a Rembrandt's reproductive engraver? If the latter, he was not successful: his only other print after Rembrandt is a copy, also made in 1635, of the etching of 'Saskia with pearls in her hair' (B. 347). [Pennington 1650. Johannes van Vliet, who was employed by Rembrandt (see F,5.2-3 and F,4.180), also etched copies after Rembrandt's prints as well as his paintings (see Amsterdam 1996, p. 13, fig. 4, p. 52, figs 6-II. 1 and 2)].
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1992 Mar-May, London, National Gallery, 'Rembrandt'
2001 Jun-Sep, Edinburgh, NG of Scotland, Rembrant's Women
2001 Sep-Dec, London, Royal Academy, Rembrandt's Women
2006 Apr-Jun, Hull, Ferens AG (Sth Bank Tour), Rembrandt
2006 Jun-Sep, Bath, Victoria AG (Sth Bank Tour), Rembrandt
2006 Oct-Dec, Newcastle, Laing AG (Sth Bank Tour), Rembrandt
2007 Apr-Jun, Stoke-on-Trent, Potteries MAG (Sth Bank Tour), Rembrandt
2007 Jun-Sep, Blackpool, Grundy AG (Sth Bank Tour), Rembrandt
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- 1843,0607.1 to 233 is the so-called 'second' collection of etchings by Rembrandt purchased by the Trustees from W & G Smith in 1843 to form a series that was intended to be consulted by visitors to the Print Room, in order to save wear and tear on the 'first' series, which contained the rare states and valuable items and which was to be reserved for connoisseurs and experts in the subject. See Josi's report to the Trustees dated 5 July 1843. Since 1843 many of the prints have been sold or exchanged as duplicates.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number