Study of a pig fastened by a rope; standing, facing r. c.1638-9 Pen and brown ink, on light brown prepared paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Pp,2.116

Additional IDs
Pp,2.117 (The wrong register no. was stamped on the old mount and subsequently on the drawing when lifted from its old mat in c.1990. The wrong number was given by Hind but is correct in Exh. London, 1992.)

Bibliographic reference
Royalton-Kisch 2010 21
Hind 1915-31 41 (Rembrandt)
Benesch 1973 779

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 (biographical details | all objects)
1638-1639 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

A tethered pig, facing right. c.1638-1639
Pen and brown iron-gall ink on paper prepared with brown wash.
Verso: blank; laid down on an eighteenth century mat; studied in transmitted light.
No watermark (chain lines vertical, 24mm apart)

Inscription Content: No inscriptions.

Height: 105 millimetres
Width: 147 millimetres

Generally good, although the iron-gall ink has run a little and eaten into the paper; a tear near the upper right corner and scuffed near the left edge; the reproduction in Hind, 1909-10, suggests that some dirt has since been removed from this area.

Curator's comments
The drawing came to the Museum under the name of Titian. A sheet with studies of two pigs in the Louvre (Benesch 777) relates closely to the British Museum's two drawings in style.

Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.21:
Cat. nos.20 (Pp,2.117) and 21 exhibit stylistic and technical features that are typical of Rembrandt's drawings of around 1638-9, when he often employed the medium of iron-gall ink on paper prepared with brown wash.[1]
A sheet with 'Studies of two Pigs' in the Louvre (Inv. 1194; Benesch 777) relates closely to the British Museum's two drawings in style and has also been dated to the end of the 1630s.[2] During these years, Rembrandt made many other studies of animals, including cat. nos.19, 29 and 30; Gg,2.259, Oo,9.71 and Oo,9.75. Some or all of them may have been gathered in the album of drawings of 'animals, from life' ('beesten nae 't leven') recorded in the 1656 inventory of his possessions.[3] The inventory also mentions a now lost painting of a pig by Rembrandt.[4]
The pose of the recumbent pig in the Louvre's drawing resembles that of the animal in Rembrandt's etching, 'The Hog', of 1643 (Bartsch 157, Hind 204). On grounds of style it seems more probable that he referred to the sketches that he had made a few years earlier than that the drawings were directly preparatory to the print. Indeed, the exploration of the form and texture of the pig in the etching is more thorough than in the drawings and this part of the print may itself have been executed from life. Seven years later, in about 1650, Rembrandt may have consulted the drawings for his sketch of the 'Prodigal Son among the Swine' (cat. no.45; [Ben 601] 1910,0212.179),[5] in which pigs resembling both cat. nos.20-21 and that on the left of the Louvre's sheet appear. The animals depicted by Rembrandt were original 'Dutch country swine', a breed no longer found, which were short in stature and had long legs.[6]

[1] See under cat. nos.23-5, and 27; inv. nos.1891,0713.9, Gg,2.248, 1910,0212.181 and 1895,1214.100. Before being attributed to Rembrandt by Hind in 1909-10, the drawings were given to Titian.
[2] By Emmanuel Starcky in Exh. Paris, Louvre, Cabinet des dessins, 1988-9, no.25.
[3] As suggested by Lugt in Paris, 1933, p.32. The album was no.249 of the inventory (Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, p.375).
[4] Op. cit., p.351, inventory no.16. This could have been of a slaughtered animal.
[5] First suggested by Hind in London, 1915, no.41.
[6] According to Schatborn, 1977, p.10.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
Hind, 1909-10, no.23 (compares Louvre sheet, Benesch 777); Hind, 1912/24, under no.204 (comparing the etching of 1643, Bartsch 157, Hind 204); London, 1915, no.41 (c.1635-40; with cat. no.20 [Pp.2.117] formerly attributed to Titian; both compared to Louvre sheet, Benesch 777, and to study of pigs at Bayonne, HdG 749 repr. Lippmann, III, no.25; Rembrandt referred to such studies for the 'Prodigal Son', here cat. no.45 [1910,0212.179]); Seidlitz, 1922, p.165, under no.157 (as Hind, 1912/24); Weisbach, 1926, p.176 (compares etching, which has a more 'comic' aspect); Paris, 1933, p.32, under no.1194 (comparing Louvre drawing, Benesch 777, and 1656 inventory mention of a painting of a pig and of an album of drawings of animals - see Comment above); Benesch, 1935, p.34 (c.1640-44; with cat. no.20 [Pp.2.117] and Louvre drawing, Benesch 777, compared to 1643 etching, 'The Hog', Bartsch 157, Hind 204); Münz, 1952, II, p.115, under no.26; (c.1643, as the etching); Benesch, IV, 1955/73, no.779, repr. fig.926/981 (c.1642-3; as Benesch, 1935); Exh. Vienna, 1956, p.61, under no.208 (comparing the 1643 etching); Exh. Vienna, 1970-71, p.92 under no.153; Schatborn, 1977, no.8, repr.; Exh. Paris, Louvre, Cabinet des dessins, 1988-9, under no.25 (the Louvre sheet, Benesch 777, earlier than the 1643 etching, for which it was subsequently reused; otherwise as Paris, 1933, and Benesch, 1935); Exh. Paris, 1986, p.169, under no.89.

mammal (all objects)

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
1938, BM, no.41 (c.1635-40);
1956, BM, p.9, no.1 (with cat. no.20; no.Pp,2.117);
1992, BM, no.24, repr. in colour (c.1638-9).

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