drawing

Absolom bowing before David (?); Absolom seated at r, wearing turban. c.1652-5 Reed pen and brown ink, touched with white and with (later) brown wash

AN222000001001

© The Trustees of the British Museum

  • Full: FrontFull: Front
  • Full: FrontFull: Front

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1961,0412.1

Bibliographic reference
Royalton-Kisch 2010 47 (Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 948(a)

Location:
Dutch Roy XVIIc

Back to search results

Back to catalogue

Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

Materials
paper (all objects)
Techniques
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
Date
1652-1655 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)


Description
Absolom bowing before David (?); Absolom seated at right, wearing turban. c.1652-1655
Reed pen and brown ink, touched with white, with (later) brown wash;[1] ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
NOTE:
[1] That the wash is later, an idea first suggested by Peter Schatborn in conversation (12 July, 1989), is confirmed by the copy in Dresden, in which it is omitted (Benesch C75; HdG.231, repr. Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, III, 1925, no.37; Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.58). The copy has a light underdrawing in graphite.
Verso: blank.
Watermark: pelican in a wreath, comparable to Churchill 500, Heawood 199 (Holland, 1644) and Rotterdam, 1988, p.350, cat. 35 (where dated to late 1650s, but may be earlier).

Inscriptions
Inscription Content: No inscription.


Dimensions
Height: 164 millimetres
Width: 216 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 25?mm apart)


Condition
Touched with later brown wash;[1] slightly faded and with surface dirt, especially near the corners; an indentation to the right, as if an engraver’s roulette wheel had accidentally struck this part of the sheet. NOTE (also under Comment): [1] That the wash is later, an idea first suggested by Peter Schatborn in conversation (12 July, 1989), is confirmed by the copy in Dresden, in which it is omitted (Benesch C75; HdG.231, repr. Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, III, 1925, no.37; Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.58). The copy has a light underdrawing in graphite.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.47:
Until its reappearance in 1960, the drawing was known only from a copy in Dresden (Benesch C75, see n.1 below). The subject is somewhat uncertain: the figure on the left conforms to the type used by Rembrandt for King David, and a scene of 'David and Absalom' (2 Samuel, XIV, 33) has been suggested,[2] in which Absalom 'bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king'. No other representation of this moment has been recorded.
In style the drawing appears to belong to the 1650s and may be compared with the dated 'Homer reciting' of 1652 in the Six album (Benesch 913). The kneeling figure is also similar to the study for the frame of the 'Anatomy Lesson of Dr Deyman' of 1656 on loan to the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 1175) as also to the sketch of a 'Child learning to Walk', here cat. no.53 (1912,0416.2, Benesch 1169). The story of David occupied Rembrandt considerably during the span of years between the two sheets in Amsterdam.[3]

NOTES:
[1] That the wash is later, an idea first suggested by Peter Schatborn in conversation (12 July, 1989), is confirmed by the copy in Dresden, in which it is omitted (Benesch C75; HdG.231, repr. Freise, Lilienfeld and Wichmann, III, 1925, no.37; Exh. Dresden, 2004, no.58). The copy has a light underdrawing in graphite.
[2] By Rotermund, 1959, p.188, discussing the copy in Dresden, repr. fig.106 and White, 1961, who compared many other works by Rembrandt for the identification of David (see also n.3); in the 1973 ed. of Benesch's catalogue of the artist's drawings he proposed 'Jonathan begging David's Forgiveness (?)', but without a reference.
[3] A list of drawings and etchings of David subjects is given by White, 1961, including the two drawings of 'Nathan admonishing David' formerly in the Rudolf collection (Benesch 918) and in the Metropolitan Museum (Benesch 948), the 'David receiving the News of Uriah's Death' in the Rijksmuseum (Benesch 890) and the etching of 'David in Prayer' (Bartsch 41, Hind 258) of 1652.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
White, 1961, pp.278-9 repr. p.205, fig.2 (c.1655 or later; subject 'David and Absalom?'); 'National Art-Collections Fund Report, 1961', 1962, p.27, no.2072 (came to light in 1960); White, 1962, repr. pl.6 (c.1655); Benesch, 1964, pp.137-8, repr. fig.35, reprinted 1970, p.262, fig.241 (late 1650s; important; reminiscences of Indian miniatures; subject perhaps as proposed by White, 1961); 'British Museum Report of the Trustees', 1966, p.73 ('David and Absalom'); Tümpel, 1967, p.28; Neufeld, 1970, p.178, n.6 (movement suggested by pentimento compared with Rotterdam 'Beheading of Baptist', Benesch 1035); Benesch, V, 1973, no.948A, repr. fig.1230 (1654-5; compares two drawings of 'Nathan admonishing David' in Berlin, Benesch 947, and Metropolitan Museum, Benesch 948; see also n.2 above); Sumowski, I, 1979, under no.230x ('David and Absalom'); Exh. Dresden, 2004, p.128, under no.58 (as Exh. London, 1992).


Subject
old testament (all objects)

Associated names
Representation of King David (biographical details | all objects)


Acquisition date
1961

Acquisition name
With contribution from The Art Fund (as NACF) (biographical details | all objects)
Purchased from Angus Macdonald (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Anon Lugt 1842 (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era. Anonymous collector ‘M’ (L.1842); purchased from Angus Macdonald, 1961, with assistance from the National Art-Collections Fund. Previous note: When a student Mr Macdonald acquired the drawing from a junk shop and sold it to the British Museum in 1961. (Information 24 Jan 2007 from Sir Christopher White, then BM curator.) See for more details the report to Trustees by E.Croft-Murray, April 1961. It was brought to the BM by Mr Macdonald for identification in May 1960, and subsequently offered to the Riksmuseum. WEhen the BM objected to an export license, he offered it to the BM which then acquired it.


Exhibition History
London, 1965 (NACF), no.24 (as White, 1961 – see Lit. under Comment);
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.55, repr. in colour;
2003-4 Dec-April, BM, NACF exhibition;
2006, BM, 'Rembrandt: a 400th anniversary display' (no cat.)


Noticed a mistake? Have some extra information about this object? Please contact us


To bookmark this page select "Bookmark this page" or "Add to favourites" from the web browser menu.


Loading...