Sketch of a Rabbi; HL, turned to l. c.1628-9 Pen and brown ink


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,9.95

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 21
Benesch 1973 28
Royalton-Kisch 2010 3 (Rembrandt)

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)
1628-1629 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Sketch of a man, half-length, turned to left. c.1628-1629

Pen and dark brown ink; ruled framing lines in a warmer brown ink.

Verso: see Inscriptions below.

No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, in graphite, ‘53 [in a circle]’ and an indecipherable inscription of one or two letters in pen and brown ink.

Height: 78 millimetres
Width: 66 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 23mm apart)

Somewhat soiled; frayed near top corners; slight loss at upper centre left edge, made up.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.3:
The drawing may be grouped with a small number of pen and ink figure studies of similar style, including the 'Sketch of a Man leaning over a Table' in the Museum's collection (cat.no.2; T,14.8, q.v.), and the 'Oriental leaning on a Stick' in Berlin (Benesch 10). Their attribution to Rembrandt depends on tradition and is difficult to sustain on the basis of comparisons with drawings of unquestioned authenticity; however, the handling of the pen has affinities with that in a study in the Rijksmuseum of c.1628-9 (Benesch 9 recto)[1] for the painting of 'Judas returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver', now in an English private collection (Bredius 539A, Corpus A15). Rembrandt's etchings of the later Leiden period, such as the 'Beggar Man and Woman behind a Bank' of c.1630 (Bartsch 165, Hind 13), are also analogous in style.
There is an etched copy, in reverse, by Cecilia Lucy Brightwell.

[1] See Amsterdam, 1985, no.5, where this dating is proposed.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
Bürger, 1858, p.401; Kleinmann, IV, no.21; London, 1915, no.21 (c.1630-35, or later?); Bauch, 1933, pp.76 and 194 and repr. p.79, fig.70 (c.1629; compares to studies for 'Judas' painting and to 'Two Studies' formerly in Oppenheimer coll., Benesch 48); Benesch, 1935, p.10 (c.1629); Benesch, 1954/73, I, no.28, repr. fig.29/33 (c.1629); Schmidt, 1959, p.338 (notes Rembrandt's early interest in oriental types, influenced by Lastman); Exh. Cambridge, 1966, under no.2 (groups with other drawings of late 1620s and early 1630s); Haverkamp-Begemann, 1992, p.463 (subject not necessarily a rabbi as previously described: call 'Man in a Turban'); Berlin, 2006, p.30, under no.3 (as Exh. London, 1992).

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A59;
1938, no.21;
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.3, repr.

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