The Prodigal tending the swine; a young man bending on one knee with one hand in a trough before the sty, beyond to r a fence and other farm buildings Pen and brown ink, with brown wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: T,14.24

Additional IDs

Bibliographic reference
Royalton-Kisch 2010 100 (anonymous Rembrandt School)
Hind 1915-31 148

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Circle/School of Rembrandt (anonymous) (biographical details | all objects)
1640-1645 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The Prodigal with the swine; a young man bending on one knee with one hand in a trough before the sty, beyond to right a fence and other farm buildings

Pen and brown ink with brown wash, touched with white.

Verso: blank.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right (18th century?): 'Rembrant'.

Height: 133 millimetres
Width: 215 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 23mm apart)

Good, though perhaps somewhat trimmed.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous Rembrandt School, cat. no.100.
The hesitant quality of the penwork suggests that it is a copy rather than an original design. Drawings in a comparable style include cat. no.101 (SL,5237.61) and a composition in Munich, which may depict 'Saul with the Witch of Endor'.[1]
As noted under cat. no.101 (SL,5237.61), the prototype was not necessarily by Rembrandt himself. The character of the line resembles that of drawings that have been assigned, with reservations, to Carel Fabritius.[2] A study of 'Isaac blessing Jacob', now in the Rijksmuseum, which is copied from a lost work by the 'Fabritius' hand, seems especially close in style.[3]
A variant of the composition, by a different hand, is in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.[4]

[1] Munich, 1973, no.1318, repr. pl.354.
[2] Amsterdam, 1985, nos.61-6.
[3] Op. cit., no.64.
[4] Where attributed to Van Renesse. The drawing was known to Hind when with Boerner's in 1930 (note in Museum files). Its present whereabouts were pointed out to me by Richard Hemphill (see Popham and Fenwick, 1965, no.173, where it is stated that Professor Sumowski attributes the drawing to Doomer; but it is not catalogued under his or Renesse's name in Sumowski, 1979 etc.).

Bürger, 1858, p.402 (Rembrandt, a 'Farm Yard'; 'simple, vigoureux; première qualité'); Vosmaer, 1877, p.589 (Rembrandt, 'beau dessin, largement fait'); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.85 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.148 (possibly a copy after Rembrandt).

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by William Fawkener (as by Rembrandt, according to 1845 inventory) (biographical details | all objects)

Exhibition History
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue, as 'copy after Rembrandt').

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