A seated nude woman, bending forwards; her r hand on her knee. c.1661-2 Brush drawing in brown wash, touched with grey-brown wash, heightened with white


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,1214.102

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 1143
Hind 1915-31 95 (as Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Raven.2

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 Johannes Raven II (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1661-1662 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A seated nude woman, bending forward; her right hand on her knee. c.1661-2

Pen and brown ink with grey-brown and later brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised; some of the black lines may, however, be black chalk) on paper from a ledger-book (with a vertical line to the left; an infra-red photograph in the Museum’s files reveals a similar line on the verso); remnants of ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.

Verso: laid down on old mat. The mat is of the same type as that on cat. no.3 (1895,1214.101).

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: No inscriptions visible.

Height: 286 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 26mm apart)
Width: 162 millimetres

Good; the brown wash is a later addition; the framing lines partly trimmed away; some white heightening oxidised to black.

Curator's comments
Literature: P. Schatborn, in H. Bevers et.al. 'Drawings by Rembrandt and his Pupils: Telling the Difference', exh.cat. The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2009, cat.no.43.2 (as Raven).

Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Johannes Raven, cat. no.2.
Often described as a drawing by Rembrandt of Hendrickje, the sheet is one of a group of six stylistically related nude studies in a similar technique and probably of a single model (Benesch 1142-7), which also includes cat. nos.1 and 3 (1859,0806.85 and 1895,1214.101). Their attribution to Rembrandt was sustained chiefly by the apparent connection between cat. no.1 and Rembrandt's etching, the 'Woman with the Arrow' of 1661 (Bartsch 202, Hind 303). This edifice of argument has collapsed with the rejection of cat. no.1 from Rembrandt's oeuvre; and a comparison with the known drawings by Rembrandt which are datable to the same period (c.1661-3) and of undisputed authenticity renders the attribution to him of all the nude studies in this group unlikely.[1] The closest in scale and purpose are the three preparatory studies for the painting of the 'Syndics of the Drapers' Guild' of 1662 (Benesch 1178-80; the painting is Bredius 415), but the drawings of the nude lack the painterly verve and judicious tonalities of the authentic works. The anatomy of the female models, with their swollen, oddly spherical stomachs (a pronounced feature of the present drawing and of the two in the Rijksmuseum, Benesch 1142 and 1146) also bears no resemblance to Rembrandt's conception of the nude at any date, whether drawn, painted or etched.
The drawing shows the figure in the same pose as one of the Rijksmuseum's studies (Benesch 1142), but seen from further to the right. Both are executed on the same kind of account paper that Rembrandt himself employed for his drawings of the Syndics Jacob van Loon and Volckert Jansz. (Benesch 1179-80, Amsterdam and Rotterdam) for his painting of 1662.[2] This date, together with that of 1661 on the etched 'Woman with the Arrow' mentioned above, provide the most probable clues for dating the nude studies. The identical pose of the model in the Rijksmuseum's drawing and the present work has led to the supposition that they were made by two artists at a single session. Yet they could both be the work of pupils working in the same style, rather than by the master and a pupil as has been proposed. The quality of the present drawing has been compromised by the addition, probably at a later date and possibly by a later artist, of a tobacco-brown wash over the original grey-brown shading. Without the addition, which narrows and hardens the contours of the figure, the handling is closely comparable to the Rijksmuseum's drawing, whether in the breasts, the schematically rounded shoulders (with the similar correction at this point), the model's right hand or the vertical brushstrokes below the cushions on which they sit. The present figure was never elaborated with the pen with the degree of detail seen in the Rijksmuseum's drawing but the identity of hands cannot be rejected on this basis alone. Indeed, all the drawings in the group (Benesch 1142-7) are probably the work of the same artist (though see n.3 below); furthermore, all but the study in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 1142) have later wash additions (possibly the work of the same draughtsman at a subsequent time)
An attribution for some of the drawings in the group to the obscure Johannes Raven has been advanced. Only one work, a signed or inscribed study of a 'Seated Youth' (Sumowski 2141, Munich) can be given to Raven with any certainty and the analogies it presents with those in the present group are not wholly persuasive. Yet there are similarities, above all in the somewhat meandering pen outlines, also seen, for example, in cat. no.1 (1859,0806.85), and as no more plausible suggestion has been made, the British Museum's drawings are here placed under his name.[3] Little is known of Raven. Born in c.1634 the son of an artist, he was recorded as a painter in Amsterdam in 1659 and buried in the Nieuwe Kerk on 23 October 1662. If he was responsible for the group of nude studies at the end of his life he was likely to have been an independent master who attended life drawing sessions where Rembrandt was also present.[4] The existence of such sessions is mentioned, among others, by Rembrandt's pupil, Samuel van Hoogstraten.[5] It cannot, however, be assumed that Raven was also formally a pupil of Rembrandt simply because they were both in attendance.

[1] The attributions to Rembrandt of all but the Rijksmuseum's drawing (Benesch 1142) have been rejected by Schatborn, 1987 and 1987[I], and in Amsterdam, 1985, under no.69. The present sheet was rejected by Benesch in 1935 and 1947 but later accepted by him (see Lit. below). The undisputed Rembrandt drawings of the period are the 'Presentation' of 1661 in the Heijblock album, The Hague (Benesch 1057); the 'Jewish Bride' of c.1661, priv. coll., New York (Benesch 988), the three preparatory drawings for the 'Syndics' of 1662 in Berlin (Benesch 1178), Amsterdam (Benesch 1179) and Rotterdam (Benesch 1180), and the sketch of 'Homer dictating' of 1663 in Stockholm (Benesch 1066). As well as in the group Benesch 1142-7 the same model may have posed for other drawings attributed to Rembrandt, including the generally accepted sheet in Chicago (Benesch 1122).
[2] That the Rijksmuseum's drawing of Jacob van Loon is also on account paper was recognised by Schatborn in Amsterdam, 1985, no.56, the ledger-book lines being only on the verso.
[3] The attribution advanced by Peter Schatborn, op. cit. As mentioned in n.1 above, he retains for Rembrandt one of the drawings from the group in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 1142) on the basis of its similarities with a sheet in Chicago (Benesch 1122); I share his view that the latter is (probably) by Rembrandt, but do not see that Benesch 1142 is necessarily by the same hand. Schatborn believes that the present work is by Johannes Raven, as also cat. nos.1 and 3, and the second study in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 1146), which is in the same pose. The analogies with the drawing by Raven in Munich are closest with Benesch nos.1146-7 in Amsterdam and London (the latter here cat. no.1), but it seems likely that the whole group (Benesch 1142-7) is by the same artist (see further Rotterdam, 1988, no.186, where Benesch 1144 is described as an anonymous Rembrandt school drawing). That the Rotterdam sheet and cat. no.1 have later wash additions was first suggested by Haverkamp-Begemann (as initially reported by White, 1969, I, p.187, n.19).
[4] On Raven, see Wegner, 1954 (publishing the documents with reference to the Munich drawing), Sumowski, IX, 1985, pp.4807-11 and Broos, in Exh. Amsterdam-Groningen, 1983, p.54.
[5] See Hoogstraten, 1678, p.294, Schatborn in Exh. Amsterdam-Washington, 1981-2, pp.19-22.

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated; refs to Rijksmuseum sheet are to Benesch 1142):
Lippmann, IV, no.85; Kleinmann, III, no.51; Valentiner, 1905, p.46 (c.1655-62; shows Hendrickje); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.936 (c.1660); Baldwin Brown, 1907, p.146 and repr. pl.21 (of Hendrickje; relates to etchings, 'Woman by Stove, Woman at the Bath and Woman at a Brook', Bartsch 197, 199 and 200, Hind 296-8); Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; Hofstede de Groot, 1915[I], pp.93-4, repr. pl.38, fig.35 (notes differences with Rijksmuseum sheet, in pose, stool and light on nose, therefore both by Rembrandt); London, 1915, no.95 (c.1660; same model used for cat. no.106 and etchings of 1658 and 1661, Bartsch 197, 199, 200 and 202, Hind 296-8 and 303); Neumann, 1918, p.164; Weisbach, 1926, p.435 (late work; groups with cat. no.1, etc.); Van Dyke, 1927, p.90 (by Gerrit Horst); Hell, 1930, p.103, n.3 (c.1658; perhaps Hendrickje); Hind, 1932, p.36 (compares Rijksmuseum sheet); Valentiner, II, 1934, p.426, under no.746 (c.1662; same paper as in 'Study for a Syndic', Rotterdam, Benesch 1180 and Rijksmuseum sheet; model perhaps Hendrickje); Benesch, 1935, p.57 (school drawing); Amsterdam, 1942, p.18, under no.41 (compares Rijksmuseum sheet); Benesch, 1947, p.52, under no.282 (as in 1935, pupil's work done at same sitting as Rijksmuseum's sheet); Hamann, 1948, pp.103 and 388, repr. fig.75 (c.1660; of Hendrickje; like Antique figure reaching for her sandals); Boeck, 1953, p.192 (as Hofstede de Groot, 1906 and 1915[I]); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.183, under no.255 (as Valentiner, 1934); Exh. Vienna, 1956, p.47, under no.142 (style, with Rijksmuseum and Rotterdam sheets, Benesch 1142 and 1144, related to etching, 'Woman with Arrow', Bartsch 202, Hind 303); Benesch, V, 1957/73, no.1143, repr. fig.1367/1439 (c.1660-61; otherwise as Valentiner, 1934; groups also with his nos.1142-7 and compares figure study in Rotterdam, Benesch 1144); Rosenberg, 1959, p.115 (c.1660); Brion, 1965, p.23, repr. p.25, fig.18 (of Hendrickje); Slive, 1965, II, no.534, repr. (c.1660-62; quotes Valentiner, 1934, on paper type); Gerson, 1968, repr. p.467, fig.e; Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.137 (wash added, as also to cat. no.1 and Benesch 1128, 1144 and 1146); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.559; Schatborn, 1983, p.458 (not Rembrandt; compares Rijksmuseum sheet); Amsterdam, 1985, pp.120-22 and 150-52, under nos.55 and 69, repr. p.120, fig.55a (by Johannes Raven, a pupil of Rembrandt, drawn at same sitting as Rijksmuseum's sheet by Rembrandt; wash and delineation of hands feet and face uncharacteristic of Rembrandt; same model also in Chicago drawing by Rembrandt, Benesch 1122; compares wash with Amsterdam drawing, Benesch 1146, also given to Raven); Schatborn, 1987, p.316, repr. fig.13 (by Raven; perhaps earlier the Amsterdam drawing, Benesch 1146, also given to him; otherwise as Amsterdam, 1985); Schatborn, 1987[I], pp.37-38, repr. fig.13 (as Schatborn, 1987); Robinson, 1988, p.586 (quotes Amsterdam, 1985); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2[I], p.156, repr. fig.51a (as Amsterdam, 1985); White, 1992, pp.267-8 (Raven a tentative possibility); Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (Raven); Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997, p.325, repr. fig.98a (possibly Raven).

academic nude (all objects)

Associated names
Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels (former identification) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Colnaghi (biographical details | all objects)

Exhibition History
1899, London, no.A81 (c.1660-61, with cat. no.106);
1938, no.95 (c.1660);
1956, p.9, no.6 (same model as etchings of 1658 and 1661 and as cat. no.106);
1992, no.107, repr. (attrib. to Raven, as Schatborn, 1987).
2009/10 Dec-Feb, Los Angeles, J Paul Getty Museum, Rembrandt and his pupils
2016 12 Feb-14 May, Amsterdam, Museum het Rembrandthuis, Drawing Nude Models. Rembrandt and his Contemporaries

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