A female nude, seated on a chair covered with drapery; in profile to l, her l arm raised, and her r foot entwined around her l leg. c.1661-2 Pen and brown ink and brown and grey-brown wash, heightened with white


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1859,0806.85

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 1147
Hind 1915-31 96 (as Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Raven.1

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by 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, surrounded by drapery; in profile to left, her left arm raised, and her right foot entwined around her left leg. c.1661-2

Pen and brown ink with grey-brown and brown wash, heightened with white over some light indications in black chalk.

Verso: laid down on card.

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: Inscribed top right, in pen and brown ink: ‘59’; Houlditch’s no.7, lower right; a photograph in the Museum’s files (stated to be taken in infra-red light, but probably an ultra-violet photograph) shows an erased inscription lower centre: ‘Rembrandt’.

Height: 297 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 27mm apart)
Width: 185 millimetres

Slightly stained; a hole, centre, by the woman’s stomach; the tobacco-brown wash is a later addition; otherwise generally good.

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.42.2 (as Raven).

Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, attributed to Johannes Raven, cat. no.1.
For the attribution to Johannes Raven, see cat. no.2 (1895,1214.102). The drawing was until recently generally considered to be Rembrandt's study for his etching of 1661, the 'Woman with the Arrow (Venus and Cupid?)' (Bartsch 202, Hind 303; for an impression of the first state, see 1848,0911.102), and as such of central importance for the authentication of drawings in Rembrandt's late style.[1] Its acceptance as the master's work by the British Museum was probably instrumental in bolstering the attribution in spite of the doubts expressed by some early commentators.[2]
The drawing's similarity to the etching is far from exact although the figure is seen in reverse, as would be expected in a preliminary study. Yet the viewpoint in the etching would have been from slightly further to the right of the model and the positions of her head, arms and the nearer leg are different.[3] The relationship between the poses supports the idea that Rembrandt made or began his etching at the same – or almost the same – time as Raven executed the present drawing. Among the other drawings in the group to which this study belongs,[4] there is one in Amsterdam (Benesch 1146) in which the model's pose is again similar, though seen from further to the left. The Amsterdam drawing, which like the present sheet has been elaborated by later additions in wash, omits the bed which was added to the British Museum's sheet and it shows more clearly the sling that supports the model's arm (and which in the etching becomes the arrow). The draughtsman responsible for the later wash, possibly Raven himself at a subsequent date, therefore seems to have taken the appearance of the etching into account when making the additions, echoing not only the bed but also the arrow in the etching by leaving open a slit in the curtains.

[1] The date on the print, 1661, could refer to any time up to the end of February 1662 (new style) as pointed out by Six, 1915, p.257, who also identified its subject as 'Venus and Cupid'. The iconography of the etching, which does not directly involve that of the drawing, is still disputed (see White and Boon, 1969, I, under no.B202, with further literature).
[2] See Lit. below, Middleton, 1878 and Seidlitz, 1894.
[3] It has been suggested that the model's head in the print was inspired by a drawing traditionally attributed to Correggio in the British Museum, London, 1967, no.17*, repr. pl.15 (see Exh. Amsterdam, 1956, no.122).
[4] For the group (Benesch 1142-47), see under cat. no.107.

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt, c.1661, for the etched 'Woman with the Arrow' of that year, Bartsch 202, Hind 303, unless otherwise stated):
Vosmaer, 1877, p.541 (without mention of the etching); Middleton, 1878, p.283, under no.302 (perhaps autograph, but like pupil's work); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.86 (for a Bathsheba; comparable sheet in Louvre); Michel, 1893, pp.478 and 581 (of Hendrickje, as also in the etchings of 1658 and 1661); Seidlitz, 1894, p.123 (not Rembrandt); Lippmann, I, no.123; Kleinmann, II, no.60; Valentiner, 1905, pp.33 and 46 (c.1658, of Hendrickje; the etching represents 'Cleopatra'); Hamann, 1906, pp.192 and 308, repr; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.937; Baldwin Brown, 1907, p.146; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; Hind, 1912/24, I, pp.62-3/31 and under no.303, repr. pl.XXIX/X (Hendrickje probably the model); London, 1915, no.96; Graul, 1920, p.50, under no.288; Stockholm, 1920, pp.49-50 (compares 'Weeping young Man', Stockholm, HdG.1572, not Benesch); Weisbach, 1926, pp.434-5, repr. fig.133 (some corrections in the drawing anticipate those made in the etching); Van Dyke, 1927, p.90, repr. pl.XXII, fig.87 (by Gerrit Horst, for the etching, also by Horst); Byam Shaw, 1928, p.31, n.1; Hell, 1930, p.127; Hind, 1932, pp.37 and 144, repr. pl.XX (autograph, despite contrast with the etching, and therefore a pivotal attribution); Benesch, 1935, p.67 (groups with 'Seated Nude to left', Amsterdam, Benesch 1146, 'Nude with long Veil', Rotterdam, Benesch 1144 and cat. no.108); Benesch, 1935[I], p.267; Kieser, 1941-2, pp.147-8 (more literal representation than the etching; basis perhaps in antique sarcophagus in Museo delle terme, Rome); Amsterdam, 1942, p.19, under no.43 (compares cat. no.108 and the pose of the Amsterdam drawing, Benesch 1146); Benesch, 1947, no.278, repr. (as Benesch, 1935); Hamann, 1948, pp.102-3, repr. fig.265 (late nudes generally studied alone); van Gelder, 1949, p.207, n.1 (follows Benesch, 1947); Münz, 1952, II, p.81, under no.144 (variant of etching and in reverse); Boeck, 1953, p.192 (not directly for the print); Biörklund and Barnard, 1955, p.123, under no.BB61-A; Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.174, under no.242; Exh. Vienna, 1956, p.77, under no.281; Benesch, V, 1957/73, no.1147, repr. fig.1371/1443 (motif of sling also in cat. no.108 and in Amsterdam drawing, Benesch 1146, in which model also appears to be the same and which was probably drawn at the same session, the poses being similar); Gerson, 1957[I], p.149 (not Rembrandt – too close to the etching); Sumowski, 1961, p.21 (rejects, as Gerson, 1957[I]); White, 1962, repr. pl.25; Slive, 1965, I, no.125, repr. (c.1660-61; as Benesch, 1957); Bonnier, 1970/69, repr. in colour, p.105, fig.72; White, 1969, I, p.187, repr. II, pl.278 (the 'stimulus' rather than a study for the etching; records opinion of Haverkamp-Begemann that the wash may be later); White and Boon, 1969, I, p.98, under no.202; Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.137 (as for cat. no.107); Exh. Vienna, 1970-71, p.165, under no.209 (the woman not holding an arrow in the print, quoting Exh. Frankfurt, 1906, no.94); Stechow, 1971, p.487, repr. fig.2 (agrees with Haverkamp-Begemann that wash probably later; refutes iconography suggested by J. F. Backer in 1924); Boon, 1972, p.28; Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.565; Sciolla, 1976, p.16; Broos, 1977, p.119; Exh. Boston-St Louis, 1980-81, pp.249-50 (notes transformation from an ordinary life study into a mythological subject); Amsterdam, 1985, p.150, under no.69, repr. fig.69a (probably by Raven; model apparently holds bed-post and cord; compares drawing in Amsterdam, Benesch 1146); Exh. Paris, 1986, p.270, under no.141; Schatborn, 1987, p.315, repr. fig.11 (by Raven, comparing his drawing in Munich; late 1650s or early 1660s; perhaps made at same sitting as the etching in which the bedcord transformed into an arrow; cf. the situation with cat. no.87); Schatborn, 1987[I], pp.36-7, repr. fig.11 (as Schatborn, 1987); Robinson, 1988, p.586 (quoting Amsterdam, 1985); Rotterdam, 1988, under no.186 (not Rembrandt; hard to separate wash from pen and ink work); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2[I], p.158 (as Amsterdam, 1985); White, 1992, p.268 (Raven a tentative possibility); Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (Raven); Sluijter, 2006, p.300, repr. p.304, fig.287 (model not Hendrickje); Paris, 2008, p.367, under no.159 (as Exh. London, 1992).

Literature after Royalton-Kisch 2010: P. Schatborn and L. van Sloten, 'Oude Tekeningen, Nieuwe Namen: Rembrandt en tijdgenoten', exh.cat. Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, 2014, cat.no.29 (as Johannes Raven).

academic nude (all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Walter Benjamin Tiffin (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Richard Houlditch (L.2214 with inscribed no.7) (biographical details | all objects)

Exhibition History
1899, London, no.A82
1938, no.96 (c.1661, for the etching);
1956, p.9 under no.6 and p.10, no.13a
1969, p.31 (probably for the etched 'Woman with the Arrow' of 1661);
1992, no.,106, repr. in colour (attrib. to Raven, as Schatborn, 1987)
2009/10 Dec-Feb, Los Angeles, Getty Museum, Rembrandt and pupils
2014 Jan-Apr, Amsterdam, Rembrandthuis, 'Old Drawings New Names'

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