The liberation of St Peter from prison; a soldier asleep on a step to left, St Peter seated on the ground with an angel bending over him pointing to the right.  Pen and brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 2006,0930.1

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 170 (as Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Flinck.8

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Attributed to Govert Flinck (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1639 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The liberation of St Peter; a soldier asleep on a step to left, St Peter seated on the ground with an angel bending over him pointing to the right. c.1639
Pen and brown ink (probably including some iron-gall ink as well as bistre) on pale brown paper; framing-lines in pen and darker brown ink.
Verso: blank (see Inscriptions)
Watermark: letters 'HB [the 'H' a little uncertain]'.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, in graphite, upper centre, an illegible name followed by '41' with near this '6270 [in a circle]'; top left: '10' and 'xx'; at top: '2'; upper right (repeated to right): '1 [in a circle]'; left, and again lower left: '223 [the lot number in the 1934 sale]'; lower right corner: '13'.

Height: 143 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 22mm apart)
Width: 126 millimetres

Generally good; minor foxing (most of which seems to have appeared since the photograph used by Benesch).

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, attributed to Govert Flinck, cat. no.8:
The style and technique resemble Rembrandt's drawings executed in iron-gall ink on light brown paper in around 1638-9 (see cat. nos.24 and 28; Gg,2.248 verso and 1910,0212.185). However, the graphic style is noticeably different and the forms lack Rembrandt's sense of structure. In addition, the draughtsman has made a direct quotation in the figure of the angel, which is borrowed in reverse from the leading mother in cat.no.13 (1910,0212.187). This and other stylistic comparisons dispel any doubts that the artist was a pupil of Rembrandt rather than the master.
The most likely identity of the pupil is the young Govert Flinck, an assertion which, however, can only be based on drawings that are attributed to him indirectly. A drawing representing 'The Centurion of Capernaum before Christ' now in the Museum Boymans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (inv.R4, Benesch 76, Sumowski 1522xx as by Philips Koninck)[1] appears to be by the same artist and together these drawings relate to Flinck through works such as his 'Joseph in prison' (Sumowski 948bx, now J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv.no.2007.5) and his 'David promising Bathsheba' in Munich (inv.1394, Sumowski 950x).[2]
A comparable composition by Jan Pynas, in reverse and highly finished in chalk, is in Frankfurt.[3]

[1] In Rotterdam, 1988, no.6, the drawing's attribution to Rembrandt is defended and the suggestion of Sumowski dismissed.
[2] See Exh. Munich-Amsterdam, 2001-2, no.55, repr. as "Govert Flinck?".
[3] Städelsches Kunstinstitut, inv.900.

Benesch, 1933-4, pp.299-300, repr. fig.249 (Rembrandt); Benesch, I, 1954/73, no.170, repr. fig.182/200; Rosenberg, 1956, p.68 (after a Rembrandt of mid-1630s); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, pp.12 and 23 (not Rembrandt); Sumowski, 1961, p.262 (after Rembrandt); Benesch, 1970, I, pp.118-19, repr. fig.87 (repeat of Benesch 1933-4); Ember, 1979, p.115, repr. fig.26 (perhaps by B.G. Cuyp and influenced his painting of 'Joseph interpreting the Dreams of the Butler and Baker' in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam in which the figures echoed in reverse); S. Flescher and G. Wilmers, 'American Owners restitute nazi-looted drawing to Feldmann family', in IFAR Journal 7.2 (2004), pp.12-17, repr.figs 1 and 4 (formerly Rembrandt).

prison (scope note | all objects)

Associated names
Representation of St Peter (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Donated by Uri-Arthur, Peled-Feldmann (biographical details | all objects)
In Memory of Arthur Feldmann (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Bernard Houthakker (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Einar Perman (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Anonymous (sale, London, Sotheby's, 16.x.1946/64 as 'attributed to Rembrandt' (bt Stenman with one other, £62)) (all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Arthur Feldmann (Lucerne, Gilhofer and Ranschburg, 27-28.vi.1934/223; the 'private collector' of this sale was only i) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
The drawing was returned to the heirs of Arthur Feldmann by an American private collector in November 2004, as a spontaneous gesture of good will after the details of the Feldmann case were made public. It was then offered at Sotheby's (London), 6 July 2005, lot 58 (bought in). In 2006 it was presented to the British Museum by Uri-Arthur Peled-Feldmann in memory of his grandfather, Arthur Feldmann, and as an expression of thanks to the private collector who wishes to remain anonymous. Sale, Amsterdam, De Vries (property of M.-O. Brenner and others, the owner of each lot unspecified), 14 December, 1911, lot 1444, repr. (as Rembrandt); Arthur Feldmann; his sale, Lucerne, Gilhofer and Ranschburg, 28 June 1934, lot 223 repr. pl.22 (bought in at CHF 950; according to a letter from the auctioneer, 24 February 1999 - in Museum files); Nazi confiscation, 1939; sale, London, Sotheby's (consigned for sale by solicitors Bennett and Bennett, for client unknown), 16 October, 1946, lot 64 (as "attributed to Rembrandt"), bt Stenman with one other (Benesch 181), £62 ; Einar Perman? (according to Sumowski, 1961 (see Lit. under Comment); Bernard Houthakker Gallery, where acquired in early 1970s by private collector, the Netherlands (acquired early 1970s); by descent to his daughter in USA; by her voluntarily returned to Feldmann's heirs, November 2004; their sale, London, Sotheby's, 6 July, 2005, lot 58, repr. (bought in); presented by Uri-Arthur Peled-Feldmann in memory of his grandfather, Arthur Feldmann.

Exhibition History
London, BM, 2006, ‘Drawings from the Collection of Arthur Feldmann’ (no cat.).

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