- Museum number
The Entombment of Christ (over the Raising of Lazarus);
(a) Lazarus is seen at right in several positions, raising his head, Christ standing above the tomb, to left a crowd of spectators
(b) Over the preceding sketch another group in which the body of Christ is lowered towards the tomb. c.1635
Red chalk, corrected with white.
Verso: laid down on paper; see Inscriptions.
Watermark: the backing has a watermark with the arms of Amsterdam; there may be a watermark on the original sheet, but it is indecipherable through the backing.
- Production date
- 1635 (circa)
Height: 282 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 22/24mm apart)
Width: 204 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Further Literature: P. Black, 'Rembrandt and the Passion', exh.cat. The Hunterian Glasgow, Munich-London-New York, 2012, cat.no.12; I. Seligman, 'Lines of Thought', London, 2016, no. 58, p. 100.
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.12.
The drawing, the authenticity of which has rarely been doubted, began as a rough sketch of the 'Raising of Lazarus'. It was subsequently reworked as an 'Entombment of Christ', when some of the earlier figures were erased and covered with white bodycolour.
It has generally been thought that Rembrandt based the underlying composition of the 'Raising of Lazarus' on an etching by Jan Lievens (Hollstein 7). There are numerous differences between them: Rembrandt did not silhouette the woman holding the winding-sheet in the print; the figures behind her are rearranged; between her and the central figures there is a head, partly obscured by the white bodycolour, that does not appear in the print; the interior rather than the roof of the arch is shaded; and there are many other alterations. The etching reproduces, in reverse, Lievens' painting of this subject now in Brighton, which is dated 1631 and which Rembrandt may have owned. Some of these differences reveal that Rembrandt in fact based himself on another print after the painting made by Jacob Louijs, which was published by Pieter Soutman, probably in Haarlem, where both artists were active from 1628 (Hollstein 1; for an impression ofthe first state in te British Museum, see inv. no. S.28). This engraving, which is most unlikely to have been made before the completion in 1631 of the painting by Lievens it reproduces, exhibits the 'reversed' shading in the vault. It also includes a section of rock on the left that juts out into the space occupied by the arch, a motif seen in the drawing, but not in Lievens' etching; and the same applies to other features: the shading stops at the base of the tomb, the point at which it also finishes in Louijs' print, and the higher of the two horizontal lines below seems to describe the space occupied by the inscription in Louijs' engraving. Yet the placing of Rembrandt's date reflects that of Lievens' signature, suggesting that he probably had Lievens' print, as well as Louijs' engraving, before him as he worked. The details of the 'Lazarus' composition in the drawing are difficult to decipher without knowledge of the prints; equally it is hard to see how Lievens could have created his figures, whether in paint or on copper, on the basis of Rembrandt's cursory indications in the drawing, including the wall of shaded rock that descends in a curve to Christ's feet.
Neither Lievens' etching nor Louijs' engraving are likely to have been made before the completion of the painting, yet the drawing is in the same direction as the prints and in reverse to the painting. This would probably not have been the case had the drawing predated the prints. So the drawing seems clearly to have been based on Louijs' print. This discovery wholly undermines the traditional view that Rembrandt's drawing, ostensibly dated 1630, inspired Lievens' painting of 1631.
Rembrandt's subsequent reworking of the sheet into an 'Entombment of Christ', although in a more searching style, was probably not executed substantially later, as has sometimes been thought. The handling differs only marginally and the colour of the chalk remains the same. The discovery that Louijs' print was Rembrandt's starting-point also negates the traditional notion that the drawing served as a preparatory study for Rembrandt's painting of the 'Raising of Lazarus' of c.1630-31 (Los Angeles, County Museum of Art, Bredius 538, Corpus A30). The theory is further weakened by the major differences between the two works, which are based on different parts of the text of St John. Rembrandt returned to the Lazarus subject in an etching of c.1632 (Bartsch 73, Hind 96; see cat. no.6a; 1848,0911.35) which again only repeats a few isolated elements of the drawing's design, as does his much later etching of 1642 (Bartsch 72, Hind 198).
With these traditional connections with works of around 1630-32 severed, it becomes possible to redate the drawing on purely stylistic grounds. Because of the connection with Louijs' print it cannot be from 1630, despite Rembrandt's annotation. The inscription seems to be autograph, but must refer not to the time of the drawing's execution but to the period of the composition's invention by Lievens for his painting completed in 1631. Stylistically the drawing has much in common with Rembrandt's red chalk studies of around 1635, in particular with the British Museum's sketch based on Leonardo's 'Last Supper' (cat. no.11; 1900,0611.7). The latter, which is drawn in chalk of the same hue, includes a few heads that are described in a similar geometrical shorthand. In addition, the group of figures at the upper left of the 'Lazarus', with a man leaning on a parapet, seems to reflect Rembrandt's study of Leonardo's composition. Stylistic analogies are also present in the chalk sections of a drawing in the Rijksmuseum of c.1635-6 (Benesch 152), which is related to Rembrandt's painting of the 'Entombment', now in Munich (Bredius 560, Corpus A126). Such comparisons are closer than with Rembrandt's compositional drawings in chalk of the Leiden period, in which the figures and style are significantly different.
In 2009 the compiler was able to study in a private collection another related painting of the 'Raising of Lazarus', largely in the style of Lievens. Perhaps based on Louijs's print, the picture however incorporates the group of figures on the right from Rembrandt's etching (Bartsch 73, Hind 96). Scientific investigation by X-radiography and infra-red reflectography reveals various pentimenti in the canvas, including changes that are similar to some of those in the present drawing: the variant positions for the head of Lazarus and the adjustment to the line of the balustrade from a straight horizontal line to a curve being the clearest. Most of the painting, which survives only in rubbed condition and in a mutilated form, having been severely cut down to a circle from a rectangle, appears Lievensesque in style, although the passage incorporating the figures from Rembrandt's etching appears more Rembrandtesque. Perhaps the most convincing hypothesis is that both the drawing and this painting were made or completed in the context of revisiting the composition in c.1635, in the case of the former by Rembrandt, and of the latter by a pupil of Lievens or conceivably of Rembrandt.
Redating the drawing to c.1635 not only brings it closer in time to the Munich painting, for which it could have been a preliminary idea, but also to the four etched 'Oriental Heads', again based on Lievens, that Rembrandt produced at this time (Bartsch 286-9). Four other drawn copies based on Pieter Lastman were also made in the mid-1630s and are likewise in chalk (Benesch 446-9, the two former in black, the latter in red chalk). Furthermore, although the subject of the 'Entombment' was not etched by Rembrandt until much later ('Christ carried to the Tomb', c.1645, Bartsch 84, Hind 215; the 'Entombment', c.1654, Bartsch 86, Hind 281), Rembrandt produced a second version in oil during the mid-1630s, the sketch at Glasgow (Bredius 554, Corpus A105 as datable 1633-5). The two paintings have few details that are directly related to the drawing (the Munich picture is the nearest), yet they could have been made at approximately the same date, when the artist was wrestling with this subject.
A similar retrospective dating appears to have taken place when Rembrandt completed in chalk two proofs of his etched 'Self-Portrait in a soft Hat', and has caused equal confusion (see cat. no.7a; 1842,0806.134).
 As first recognised by Hofstede de Groot, 1896, p. 380. The text of the present entry summarises Royalton-Kisch, 1991[I] and 1992[I].
 As first argued by Saxl, 1923-4, pp.146-7. Impressions are in the British Museum and viewable online (inv. nos.D,8-69 [1st state], S.29 and D,8.70 [3rd state]).
 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.
 As first noticed by Schatborn (see Exh. Amsterdam, 1988-9, pp.44-5, no.18); in Exh. Braunschweig, 1979, under no.102, the Lievens etching is said to have been done after the painting.
 A summary of views appears below. The print was illustrated in Exh. Los Angeles, 1991-2, p.19, fig.12, and the author, Richard Rand, was the first to note the connection with Louijs' print.
 Guratzsch, 1980 (see Lit. below) contrasts Lievens' invention, based on John, XI, 41, with Rembrandt's painting inspired by John, XI, 43. For the iconography, see also Harvey, 1980.
 The drawing of the 'Raising of Lazarus' in Rotterdam, Benesch 518 recto, has been rejected by Giltaij (see Rotterdam, 1988, no.155), rightly in my view. He quotes the earlier doubts expressed by Sumowski, 1958, p.179 and Guratzsch, 1975, p.253, n.15.
 Corpus, I, 1982, under no.A30, suggest that the date may have been added to the drawing later, in error. The ingenious sequence proposed by Schatborn (e.g. in 1988-9, see n.4 above) that Lievens' etching was proofed in 1630 before the painting was finished and dated in 1631 runs counter to the evidence adduced here.
 The figure mentioned resembles the third from the left in Rembrandt's study after Leonardo in Berlin (Benesch 445) more than his prototype in Louijs' engraving.
 Amsterdam, 1985, no.7.
 E.g. the double-sided drawing in Rotterdam for the 'Raising of the Cross' and the 'Judas returning the Silver' (Benesch 6) of c.1628-9; other chalk drawings of this period are the 'Study of Legs' in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 9 verso); the 'Studies of seated old Men' in a private collection, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Teylers Museum, Haarlem, and the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (Benesch 20, 37, 40 and 41), and the 'St Paul' and the 'Kneeling Man' both in the Louvre (Benesch 15 and 18).
 The painting is privately owned. Originally rectangular, it as been cut down to a tondo with a diameter of 172 cm. A photograph is in the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie in The Hague. The painting's condition makes its status difficult to judge.
 See Broos, most recently in Exh. Amsterdam, 1985-6, pp.22-3, nos.6-7. Hind, 1924, Valentiner, 1934, II, and Münz, 1952 have previously suggested some relationship to the Munich 'Entombment' (see Lit. below).
LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt, 1630 unless otherwise stated; Rembrandt's painting = Bredius 538, Corpus A30, 'Lazarus' or Bredius 560, Corpus A126, 'Entombment'; etching = Bartsch 73, Hind 96):
Bürger, 1858, p.399 ('Entombment' only); Vosmaer, 1877, pp.89 and 487; Bode, 1881, p.66 (with colour repr.; 'Entombment', but related to Rembrandt's 'Lazarus' etching); Bode, 1883, p.390 (as Bode, 1881); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.85 ('Entombment of Lazarus'); Michel, 1893, II, p.581 (as Dutuit, 1885); Seidlitz, 1895/1992, p.63/125, under no.73; Hofstede de Groot, 1896, p.380 (a 'Raising of Lazarus', preceding Rembrandt's painting and related to Lievens, and an 'Entombment'); Lippmann, I, no.102; Neumann, 1902, p.195n. (agrees subject changed); Kleinmann, III, no.42; Bell, c.1905, p.15, repr. pl.VI; Wickhoff, [text by Kurt Rathe], 1906, p.28, no.31; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.891 (first a 'Raising of Lazarus', reworked as an 'Entombment'); Valentiner, 1907, p.162 (Elsheimer influence); Exh. Paris, 1908, p.36, under no.66 (closer to Rembrandt's painting of 'Lazarus' than to his etching); Saxl, 1908, p.233 (relates to 'Lazarus' painting and etching); Wurzbach, 1910, p.417; Holmes, 1911, pp.30f., repr. pl.III; Hind, I, 1912/24, under no.96 and repr. pl.IX/II, in 1912 ed. also p.51, in 1924 ed. also p.29 (the drawing and painting of 'Lazarus' later developed in Rembrandt's etching; 1924 ed.: also related to Munich 'Entombment'); London, 1915, no.2, repr. pl.II (probably for Rembrandt's etching, the drawing also inspiring Lievens' etching); Graul, 1920, p.14; Stockholm, 1920, p.28 (influenced 'Massacre of Innocents'?, Benesch 351 verso, Stockholm, viewed as a school drawing); Coppier, 1922, pp.25 and 102 (by Lievens, 1630); Saxl, 1923-4, pp.146-151 (places Lievens' etching first; the drawing used for Rembrandt's painting and then for his etching; the composition inspired by Guido Reni); Benesch, 1925, reprinted 1970, pp.83, 84; Kauffmann, 1926, p.174; Weisbach, 1926, p.138 (related to 'Lazarus' painting; quotes Saxl, 1923-4); Van Dyke, 1927, p.58, p.105 and p. 107, repr. pl.XXVIII, fig.110 (by Lievens, for his etching; compares 'Susannah' in Dresden, Benesch 536; also gives Rotterdam 'Lazarus', Benesch 518, to Lievens); Exh. London, 1929, p.86, under no.170, and p.224 [1929[I], p.196], under no.573 (related to Brighton painting and Lievens' etching); Hind, 1932, p.52 (study for Rembrandt's etching); Köhne, 1932, pp.52 and 66-7 (compares Lievens; quotes Saxl, 1923-4); van Rijckevorsel, 1932, p.87, repr. fig.84 (Lievens' etching first; influence of Reni and of Marcantonio's 'Lamentation' after Raphael); Schneider, 1932/73, p.39 (after Lievens' etching); Paris, 1933, p.5, under no.1117 (compares 'Solomon adoring the Idols', Louvre, Benesch 136); Bauch, 1933, pp.93-4, repr. fig.83, and pp.201-2 (similar to 'Lazarus' painting of same year); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.499 (first a 'Lazarus', 1630, reworked c.1633 as an 'Entombment' for Munich painting); Exh. Madrid, 1934, p.41, under no.23; Benesch, 1935, p.10 (drawing influenced Lievens); Benesch, 1935[I], p.262; Gerson, 1936, p.75; Bauch, 1939, pp.261-4 (influenced Lievens or conceivably by him but reworked by Rembrandt); Popham, 1939, pp.67-8 (echoes of earlier mannerists); Amsterdam, 1942, p.103, under no.1 (ultimately influenced Rijksmuseum's drawing of the subject by Jacob de Wet the Younger); von Alten, 1947, no.5, repr.; Benesch, 1947, no.15, repr. (based on Lievens' print; style fuses Callot and Pynas); Schuurman, 1947, p.20, repr. p.23 (follows Saxl, 1923-4); Beck, 1949, pp. 184-99 (based on Lievens with knowledge of Marcantonio 'Pietà', Bartsch 35); Münz, 1952, II, p.93, under no.192, p.110, under no.241, and p.113 under no.252 (drawing influenced Lievens, or both inspired by common prototype such as Rubens' 'Assumption of the Virgin'; perhaps related to Munich 'Entombment'; traces development of subject from Benesch 17 to etching, 'c.1658/59', Bartsch 86, Hind 281; notes consistency of style between early and late rough sketches); van Gelder, 1953, p.299 (a study for Rembrandt's etching of 'Lazarus'; influence of Pynas and Lastman); Benesch, I, 1954/73, no.17, repr. fig.15/22 (drawing influenced Lievens); Exh. Leiden, 1956, pp.40-41 (influenced Lievens; later reworked as an 'Entombment'); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.42, under no.18 (as Paris, 1933); Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956[I], p.23, under no.11 (for Los Angeles painting); Knuttel, 1956, pp.69-70; Sumowski, 1956-7, p.263; Sumowski 1957-8, p.237 (drawing influenced Lievens); Benesch, 1960, p.14 and no.4, repr. (influence of Lastman and Pynas); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, p.20 (drawing based on Lievens' print, which preceded Lievens' painting); White, 1962, repr. pl.1; Brighton, 1964, p.33 (drawing based on Lievens); Gantner, 1964, pp.15 and 18, repr. fig.2; Exh. Amsterdam, 1964-5, p.124, under no.106, and p.129, under no.111(quotes Saxl, 1923-4; Rotterdam version, Benesch 518, dated c.1635-40; compares 'Raising of Cross', also Rotterdam, Benesch 6); Slive, 1965, no.103 (based on Lievens' etching); Bauch, 1966, p.4, under no.51 (relates to Los Angeles painting); Bauch, 1967, pp. 166-7 (places Rembrandt's painting of 'Lazarus' first, then the drawing, then Lievens' painting and etching); Munich, 1967, p.66 (relates to Munich 'Entombment'); Gerson, 1968, p.26 and p.182, repr. fig.a and p.489, under no.16 (doubts Bauch's sequence but gives no alternative); Bredius-Gerson, 1969, under no.538 (as Gerson, 1968); Haak, 1969/68, pp.62-3, repr. fig.88 (drawing influenced Lievens); Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.79 (influenced Lievens); White, 1969, I, pp.29-30 and 50, repr. fig.15 (after Lievens' etching); Exh. Vienna, 1970-71, p.38, under no.51, p.89, under no.148 (compares 1642 etching of 'Lazarus', Bartsch 72, Hind 198); Sumowski, 1971, p.130 (drawing influenced Lievens); Fuchs, 1973, p.79, repr. fig.26 (contrasting Raphael); Slatkes, 1973, p.251 (drawing developed from Rembrandt's 'Lazarus' painting but before Lievens' etching); Stechow, 1973, pp.7-8 and 11, repr. fig.1 (drawing influenced Los Angeles painting; joint inspiration with Lievens); Haak, 1976/74, no.6; Guratzsch, 1975, pp.252-3, repr. fig.6, and n.14 (follows Haak, 1969/68); Exh. London, 1976, p.60 (some earlier opinions summarised); Sciolla, 1976, p.5, repr. no.111 (compares 'Baptism of Eunuch', Munich, Benesch 13, and 'Raising of Cross', Rotterdam, Benesch 6); Exh. Braunschweig, 1979, p.20, n.19 and under no.26 (Rembrandt inspired by Lievens; rework later); Campbell, 1980, p.27, repr. fig.27; Guratzsch, 1980, I, pp.144, 149-51, repr. figs.28-29 (underdrawing reflects Lievens' invention; iconography discussed – see n.6 above); Harvey, 1980, p.32, repr. fig.38 (based on Lievens; iconography); Sumowski, 1980, p.11 (as in 1957-8); Exh. Boston-St Louis, 1980-81, p.131, under no.82; Brown, 1981, pp.26-7, repr. fig.20 (some earlier opinions summarised); Corpus, I, 1982, p.5, n.1, p.24, and pp.300, 301, 305 and 308 under no.A30, repr. fig.6 (based on Lievens' etching; the date, if written by Rembrandt, unreliable and perhaps added to the drawing later, in error; not closely related to Rembrandt's painting of 'Lazarus'); Ozaki, 1982, pp.60-61, repr. figs.2, 6, 12 and 21 (based on Lievens, who was influenced by Rembrandt's painting); Exh. Amsterdam-Groningen, 1983, p.194, under no.51 (as Corpus, 1982); Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, pp.1781f., under no.1193 (with summary of earlier opinions; drawing based on Lievens' etching); Schwartz, 1985/84, p.86, repr. fig.74 (Rembrandt predates his drawing based on Lievens' invention; the drawing reworked as an 'Entombment' only later); Amsterdam, 1985, under nos.77 and 95 (drawing based on Lievens' print; border lines drawn first); Starcky, 1985, p.257 (compares and contrasts Louvre 'Solomon's Idolatry', Benesch 136); Sumowski, IX, 1985, p.4928; Exh. Paris, 1986, p.67, under no.30 (before the painting and the etching); Tümpel, 1986, repr. p.40 in colour (date suspect); Rotterdam, 1988, p.284, under no.155; Exh. Amsterdam, 1988-9, pp.42-5, under nos.17 and 18 (based on Lievens' etching; the Lievens etching completed before his painting); Exh. Braunschweig-Utrecht-Cologne-Munich, 1988-90, p.36; Schatborn, 1990 (1989), p.124, repr. fig.17 (as Exh. Amsterdam, 1988-9); Royalton-Kisch, 1991[I], pp.263-83, repr. figs.1 and 3 (c.1635; arguments summarised above, but without knowledge of Louijs' engraving); Exh. Leiden, 1991-2, p.113, repr. fig.66; Exh. Los Angeles, 1991-2, pp.14-17, repr. fig.8 (quotes Royalton-Kisch, 1991[I]; copied after Lievens either immediately or several years later); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, pp.465-6 (not based on Louijs' print; follows Schatborn, 1990); Royalton-Kisch, 1992[I] (publishes in full the idea that Louijs' print was the model for the drawing); White, 1992, p.268 (as Exh. London, 1992, 'if you are prepared to argue that the date of 1630 […] does not mean what it says'); Griffiths, 1994, pp.531-2, repr. fig.54 (see note under Acquisition Comment); Schatborn, 1994, p.21 (agrees with Exh. London, 1992); Giltaij, 1995, p.98 (as Schatborn, 1994); Slive, 1995, p.101 (as Exh. London, 1992); Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997-8, p.226, repr. fig.37c; Exh. Dresden, 2004, p.65, under no.2 (influenced P. Koninck drawing in Dresden, Inv. C1370); Berlin, 2006, p.84, under no.18 (as Exh. London, 1992); Exh. Washington-Milwaukee-Amsterdam, 2008-9, p.142, under no.31, fig.2.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1899, BM, no. A3 (first a 'Lazarus' related to the etchings by Lievens and Rembrandt, then reworked as an 'Entombment');
1938, BM, no.2;
1956, BM, p.22, no.6;
1984, BM, Rembrandt and the Passion, no.8;
1985-6, Amsterdam, Rembrandthuis, no.8 (based on Lievens' etching, then reworked into an 'Entombment');
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.15, repr. in colour (based on Louijs print).
2012 Sep-Nov, Glasgow, Hunterian, Rembrandt and the Passion
2016 3 Sep - 6 Nov, Poole Museum, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 58
2017 1 Jan - 25 Feb, The Brynmor Jones Library Art Gallery, University of Hull, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 58
2017 12 Mar - 5 May, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 58
2017 May - Sep, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 58
2017-2018 Oct - Jan, RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 'Lines of thought: Drawing from Michelangelo to now', no. 58
- Generally good; perhaps a little trimmed; a stain (oil?) towards lower left; some foxing towards upper right.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2183; possibly his sale, Cock, 8th night, 30 January, 1747, lot 67: ‘One, “Rembrandt”, Christ carrying to the Sepulchre’, £11-5-0); either given by John Christmas, 1761 or bequeathed by William Fawkener, 1769. In the British Museum Trustees’ Committee papers of 9 Oct. 1761, it is recorded that Mr John Christmas presented ‘a fine drawing of the ‘Raising of Lazarus’ after the manner of Rembrandt’. This was the first drawing ever presented to the British Museum after its foundation (i.e. since the original bequest of Hans Sloane in 1753), and could possibly be the present sheet – it may have been placed in Fawkener’s albums after their arrival in 1769. (Since its first publication in Exh. London, 1992 this information has been discussed by Griffiths, 1994, pp.531-2.)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: FAWK,5213.6