Life study of a man standing; nude except for a loin-cloth, his l arm resting on a cushion which rests on a projection of the wall. c.1646 Pen and brown ink, with brown and grey wash, touched with red chalk, heightened with white, over black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.94

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 66 (as Rembrandt)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 71 (School of Rembrandt & retouched by Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 710

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 Rembrandt (retouched by) (biographical details | all objects)
Circle/School of Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1646 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Life study of a man standing; nude except for a loin-cloth, his left arm resting on a cushion which rests on a projection of the wall. c.1646
Pen and brown ink, with brown and grey wash, touched with red chalk and heightened with white, over black chalk.
Verso: laid down.
No watermark visible or recorded.

Inscription Content: No inscriptions visible or recorded.

Height: 252 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 25mm apart)
Width: 193 millimetres

Good, though perhaps a little trimmed all round; a rubbed patch above the cushion; two small touches in a purplish brown wash probably added later (in the cheek and nearer eye).

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, anonymous School of Rembrandt (retouched), cat. no.71.
The drawing is one of a series of studies that appear to have been taken from the same model at a single sitting, but by different artists.[1] Rembrandt etched the figure, seen from a little further to the left, on the plate entitled 'A young Man seated and standing: the Walking Trainer' (Bartsch 194, Hind 222 [see 1973,U.983]) which is datable c.1646.[2] The etching reverses the figure. Samuel van Hoogstraten studied the model from a similar angle in a drawing now in the Louvre (Benesch A55, Sumowski 1253x).[3] Taken from still further to the left is a study in Vienna (Benesch 709), which seems to be the work of yet another artist.[4]
Of the drawings, only the British Museum's retains any claims to be by Rembrandt. Against the attribution speak the elaborate technique of two chalks as well as brown ink with wash in brown and grey, heightened with white, unparalleled in Rembrandt's certainly authentic drawings of the 1640s. The somewhat laboured, fastidious hatching that appears at various points in the figure is also uncharacteristic. More difficult to assess is the possibility that Rembrandt himself may have improved those sections of the sheet drawn with bolder strokes of a reed pen, a procedure encountered in a few drawings by his pupils.[5] In the present example the issue is confused by the presence of corrections that appear to have been made by the pupil to his own work, as in the back of the head and in the legs and feet. The areas which Rembrandt probably retouched are in the background to either side of the figure and in the addition of a loose fold in the loincloth. The suggestion seems plausible in the light of comparisons with drawings of the period 1646-52 that are unquestionably by Rembrandt. For example, the study of 'Jan Cornelisz. Sylvius' of 1646 (cat. no.37; 1874,0808.2272) includes similarly bold work both in the drapery to the right of the figure and in the figure itself. The 'Minerva in her Study' of 1652 in the Six album (Benesch 914, Six Collection) includes a comparable curtain with, to the upper left, an indication of a fringe that matches the calligraphy seen at the base of the curtain in the British Museum's drawing. Taken together, the analogies support the idea of an intervention by Rembrandt. The vigour of his draughtsmanship seems distinct from the rest of the drawing, although its effect is somewhat diluted by the more flaccid underlying work, mostly in brown wash.[6]
In summary, the drawing appears to be the work of a Rembrandt follower, drawn at the same time as the master's etching of about 1646 and two other pupils' drawings, but to have been corrected by Rembrandt as well as by the pupil himself. The latter's identity cannot be ascertained, although his style resembles that of his contemporary in Rembrandt's workshop, Samuel van Hoogstraten,[7] who drew the same model at the same time.
Rembrandt's habit of correcting his pupils' drawings is recorded in several examples (see also cat. no.72; Oo,09.73) but it is not always certain whether the corrections were made by the master, by the pupil, or by former pupils of Rembrandt who may have followed the same practice in their own independent workshops and corrected their own pupils' drawings.[8]

[1] Hofstede de Groot, 1915[I], p.93, unconvincingly saw the almost imperceptible differences in the pose of the model in these works as evidence of different postures adopted at a single session, in order to defend the theory that the Vienna sheet, the etching and the present drawing are all by Rembrandt. While there can be no objection to the idea that Rembrandt made more than one study at the same sitting (as noted by Hind, 1912), the style argues against the assumption.
[2] The date is based on its stylistic proximity to the dated etchings of a 'Nude Man seated before a Curtain' (Bartsch 193, Hind 220) and the 'Man seated with one Leg extended' (Bartsch 196, Hind 221).
[3] The attribution to van Hoogstraten, though recent (it was first mooted by Hind, 1932, p.34) is convincing - see Sumowski 1253x (the Paris drawing), Sumowski 1250x (the 'Seated Nude' formerly de Bruijn coll, which closely resembles the seated figure in the etching,) and Sumowski's comparison of the face in the latter with the 'Self-Portrait' in Munich, Sumowski 1110.
[4] The Vienna drawing was accepted by Benesch but seems a typical pupil's drawing of the 1640s and has been rejected by Lugt, Schatborn and others (see Lit. below).
[5] For a discussion of several examples, see Exh. Amsterdam, 1984-5, nos.26-30.
[6] The exact limits of Rembrandt's intervention are impossible to establish - he could perhaps also have made some of the corrections in white.
[7] As noted by Hind, 1932, Sumowski, 1961, and others. The resemblance is clear from the comparison with the Louvre drawing mentioned above, Benesch A55. The Vienna drawing, Benesch 709, may also have been corrected by Rembrandt at the top and in the cushion, where it resembles the style of the Hamburg drawing of 'St Jerome in a Landscape', Benesch 886.
[8] Many of the examples described by Benesch have since been reassessed (mainly by Sumowski) as done entirely by Rembrandt's pupils. For a recent discussion see Exh. Amsterdam, 1984-5, pp.38-43 and Royalton-Kisch, 1998.

LITERATURE (as Rembrandt unless otherwise stated unless otherwise stated; refs. to etching are to Bartsch 194, Hind 222 and to Vienna drawing are to Benesch 709):
Bürger, 1858, p.397 (for the etching); Blanc, II, 1861, p.455 (for the etching); Vosmaer, 1868, p.473 (c.1646; study for the etching); Vosmaer, 1877, p.541 (as in 1868); Middleton, 1878, p.267, under no. 280 (for the etching; Le Blanc owned another [see Le Blanc, II, 1861, pp.16-17; this was probably the Paris drawing, Benesch A55]); Dutuit, IV, 1885, p.86; Michel, 1893, p.582; Seidlitz, 1895, p.117, under no.194 (for the etching, as also Vienna drawing; noted Le Blanc as Middleton, 1878); Lippmann, II, no.46; Seidlitz, 1900, p.489; Kleinmann, II, no.59; Valentiner, 1905, p.53 (model resembles, though probably not, Titus); Bell, c.1905, repr. pl.VII; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.933 (c.1646, for the etching); Baldwin Brown, 1907, p.144 (for the etching); Exh. Paris, 1908, p.61 under no.166 (follows HdG); Conway, 1908-9, p.37 (pupil, possibly corrected by Rembrandt; other studies of the period show the same model); Wurzbach, 1910, p.418; Hind, 1912, I, p.58, n.1 and 1912/24, under no.223 (refutes Conway, 1908-9; Rembrandt could have taken more than one sketch at one sitting); Hofstede de Groot, 1915[I], p.93, repr. pl.34, fig.29 (drawn by Rembrandt at same session as he made Vienna drawing and the etching; notes minor differences of poses between them); London, 1915, no.66 (c.1646; a study for the etching, with the Vienna sheet, which is closer); Demonts, 1920, p.14, n.5 (groups with Louvre drawing, Benesch A55); Weisbach, 1926, p.616, n.2 (for etching, but less close than Vienna drawing); Van Dyke, 1927, p.114, repr. pl.xxix, fig.115 (by Maes, as also Vienna study; the etching also probably workshop); Graul, 1920, p.34, under no.190; Hind, 1932, p.34, repr. pl.xvii (pupil corrected by Rembrandt; same hand as London, 1915, no.67 [HdG.932] and Victoria and Albert Museum drawings HdG.968 and 973, repr. Valentiner, 1924, figs.24-5); Paris, 1933, p.63, under no.1327 (rejects, along with all other drawings generally related to the print); Exh. Madrid, 1934, p.60, under no.80 (for the etching); Benesch, 1935, p.38 (c.1646, for etching, with Vienna drawing, which is closer); Benesch, 1935[I], p.265, lists with sheet in Vienna); Benesch, 1947, pp.11 and 12 and no.148 (c.1646; 'life-class' study; relates to etchings Bartsch 193-4 and 196 [Hind 220, 222 and 221] and to Vienna drawing; provenance wrongly as Cracherode); Münz, 1952, II, p.80, under no.136 (pupil corrected by Rembrandt); Boeck, 1953, p.191 (different viewpoint to etching and Vienna drawing); Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.710, repr. fig.853/901 (c.1646, for the etching, with Vienna drawing; rejects arguments that cast doubt on either sheet); Biörklund and Barnard, 1955, p.93, under no.BB 46-1 (related in reverse to etching); Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956, pp.30-31, under no. 58 (for the etching); Exh. Amsterdam-Rotterdam, 1956[I], p.115, under no.55 (compares the etching and Cologne painting, 'Christ at Column', Bredius 591); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.107, under no.126 (for the etching, as also the Vienna drawing); Exh. Stockholm, 1956, p.73, under no.115 (for the etching, as also the Vienna drawing); Exh. Vienna, 1956, under nos.73 and 218 (as Benesch, 1955); Gerson, 1957[I], pp.148-9 (rejects, along with Benesch A55 Louvre, Vienna drawing - this perhaps retouched by Rembrandt - and a sheet in Dresden not in HdG [this last reference perhaps in error]); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961, pp.54-5 (school, drawn at same sitting as Vienna drawing and Benesch A55, Paris); Sumowski, 1961, p.14 (not a study for the etching; corrected by Rembrandt; perhaps by Hoogstraten; compares 'Diana' now in Meissner coll., Zurich, Sumowski 1252x, and 'Seated Woman', Benesch A54, Sumowski 1251x, Louvre); Sumowski, 1964[I], p.239 (not Rembrandt); Slive, 1965, I, no.270, repr. (rejects all studies related to the etching, but believes the present sheet possibly retouched by Rembrandt); Haak, 1969/68, pp.196-7, repr. fig.321 (perhaps corrected by Rembrandt; relates with other sheets to etching of c.1646); White, 1969, 1, p.179 n. (corrected by Rembrandt?); White and Boon, 1969, I, p.94, under no. B194 (for the etching, as also Vienna sheet; Paris drawing, Benesch A55, school); Exh. Vienna, 1969-70, under no.33 (by Rembrandt, because the print composed, showing the legs covered by another figure); Bonnier, 1970/69, repr. in colour, p.61, fig.38; Exh. Vienna, 1970-71, p.102 under no.173 (as Exh. Vienna, 1969-70); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.345; Exh. Amsterdam-Washington, 1981-2, p.22 and n.71 (notes relationship to print; model could be Maes or Hoogstraten); Exh. Amsterdam, 1984-5, p.6 and repr. no.23 (reproduction exhibited; pupil's work, related to the etching, to Vienna drawing and Benesch A55, Louvre); Amsterdam, 1985, under no.29, n.8, and under no.52 (pupil; uncertain whether retouched by Rembrandt); Exh. Paris, 1986, p.171, under no.84 (by a pupil?); Schatborn, 1987, p.316 and n.17 (drawn by a pupil at same sitting as etching and pupils' drawings in Vienna and Paris, Benesch A55); Schatborn, 1987[I], p.37 and n.17 (as Schatborn, 1987); Exh. Berlin-Amsterdam-London, 1991-2, p.80 and n.78, repr. fig.97 (compares Maes drawing in Victoria and Albert Museum, S.1765b, though an attribution to him unlikely as only 12 years old in 1646; Vienna drawing a schoolwork, Paris drawing, Benesch A55 by Hoogstraten); Schatborn, 1993, p.164; Schatborn, 1994, p.24 (corrections perhaps the pupil's own, but in Rembrandt's style); Giltaij, 1995, p.102 (corrections not Rembrandt, probably all by Hoogstraten); Schatborn, in Exh. Paris-Haarlem, 1997, p.XXIV (probably retouched by Rembrandt); Hinterding, 2006, p.110, repr. fig.70; Blanc, 2008, p.93, repr. fig.46 (mixed media conveys pose, chiaroscuro and anatomy more fully than Van Hoogstraten's drawing in the Louvre).

academic nude (all objects)

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A49 (c.1646; study in reverse for the etching - see Comment);
1938, no.66; 1956, p.10, no.19 (accepted as c.1646 but notes attributional controversy);
Amsterdam, 1969, no.76 (accepted as c.1646, but quotes dissent of Haverkamp-Begemann, 1961 and Slive, 1965);
London, 1972-3, no.210;
Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery, 1982, 'Payne Knight', no.160;
London, 1992, no.87, repr. in colour;
Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, p.213, repr. p.217, fig.d;
Rome, Scuderie del Quirinale, 2002-3, 'Rembrandt Pittore Incisore', p.171, under no.51, repr. fig.c.
2016 12 Feb-14 May, Amsterdam, Museum het Rembrandthuis, Drawing Nude Models. Rembrandt and his Contemporaries

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