drawing

The two disciples at Emmaus; interior with one seated, the other standing, both gazing in amazement at the empty chair Brush drawing in brown ink and brown wash, strengthened with gum, with grey wash and black chalk

AN222335001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: FrontFull: Front

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,10.226

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 137
Royalton-Kisch 2010 94 (anonymous after Rembrandt)

Location:
Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

Materials
paper (all objects)
Techniques
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Circle/School of Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
After Rembrandt (anonymous) (biographical details | all objects)
Date
1718-1720 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)


Description
The Supper at Emmaus; interior with one disciple seated, the other standing, both gazing in amazement at the empty chair

Pen and brown ink with grey and brown wash; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

Verso: see Inscriptions.

Watermark: countermark 'FG' below a lily.

Inscriptions
Inscription Content: Verso, top centre, in graphite: 'Not to be cut'.


Dimensions
Height: 199 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 25mm apart)
Width: 163 millimetres


Condition
Good; a few minor creases and scuffs.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous after Rembrandt, cat. no.94.
The drawing seems to be a late, perhaps early 18th century, copy of a composition known through five other versions. These fall into two types: those in which (as in the present sheet) the posture of the figures and the circular glazing of the upper window come close to the appearance of the print in Arnold Houbraken's 'Groote schouburgh', vol.I, 1718, opp.p.258.[1] Yet the present sheet and the version in Paris, with which it shares these similarities to the print, both include a pot on a table in the foreground that does not appear in Houbraken's version. The other compositional type shows the figures in less agitated poses, with a simple pattern of horizontal and vertical glazing-bars in the window.
Houbraken noted that he knew of several sketches of the subject by Rembrandt, but none of those that survive may be attributed securely to the master himself. As many writers have recognised, the best surviving version is that now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge (Benesch C47), which belongs to the second compositional type. It does not look like a copy. In style, it resembles Rembrandt's work of c.1650, whereas the present sheet and the Houbraken print, which may be contemporaneous and which show the figures with more exaggerated facial expressions and postures, may copy or depend on a work of the first half of the 1630s.[2] The Cambridge version could in theory be a pupil's work of c.1650 but based on a Rembrandt original of the 1630s. The existence of different versions of the subject by Nicolaes Maes and other followers (see n.1 below) suggests that Rembrandt may have returned to the composition as an exercise for his pupils.[3]

NOTES:
[1] Apart from the present sheet and the engraving in Houbraken, the following versions are known: 1) a drawing in Paris, Petit Palais, discussed and repr. by Lugt in Paris, 1927, no.63, pl.XXXIII (this belongs to the first type); 2) Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Benesch C47 (the best version of the second type and discussed further above); 3) a drawing in Edinburgh, no.D2762, repr. van Gelder, 1974, p.6, fig.4, probably based on the Cambridge drawing; 4) a drawing in Dresden with considerable variations in the figures, repr. loc. cit., fig.5. The latter also reproduces, fig.6, the version by Maes in the Louvre (Sumowski 1837x) which has only general similarities, and a print by J. Buys apparently based on the drawing in Cambridge (his fig.2), which was reprinted in a second state in C. Ploos van Amstel and C. Josi's 'Collection d'imitations' of 1821, part I (his fig.3). Cormack, in Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.4, recorded an otherwise unknown 19th century print (possibly the reprinted Buys. Wichmann, 1923, pp.102-5, also discusses a painted version (his pl.XXIV, fig.2), then in a private collection in Leipzig.
[2] Comparable figures appear in the etching of c.1632 of the 'Raising of Lazarus' (Bartsch 73, Hind 96).
[3] This kind of practice is suggested by Schatborn in Exh. Amsterdam, 1984-5, pp.7-8.

LITERATURE :
London, 1915, no.137 (after Rembrandt's drawing in Cambridge, Benesch C47); Hind, 1920, under no.7; Exh. London, 1929[I], p.201; Valentiner, II, 1934, under no.528 (copy, based on Houbraken etching; notes Cambridge and Dutuit versions); Benesch, 1957/73, VI, under no.C47 (modified copy, based on Houbraken); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.4 (variant of Cambridge sheet; notes a 19th cent. print - see n.1 above).


Subject
christ at emmaus (all objects)


Acquisition date
1824

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight (as by Ferdinand Bol) (biographical details | all objects)


Exhibition History
None recorded.


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