print study / drawing

Diana at the Bath, study for a print; nude, seated in profile to r, looking to front, her arms resting on drapery over a high surface before her. c.1630-1 Black chalk, touched with light brown wash, indented for transfer Verso: rubbed with black chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1266

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 21
Royalton-Kisch 2010 5 (Rembrandt)
JCR 794
Hind 1915-31 9

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
print study (scope note | all objects)
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Diana at the bath; nude, seated in profile to right, looking to front, her arms resting on drapery over a high surface before her. c.1630-1631
Black chalk with some light brown wash, the outlines indented for transfer; ruled framing lines in pen and black ink.
Verso: largely blackened with chalk (see the reproduction).
No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, top left, in graphite: ‘794’; lower left, in pen and brown ink: ‘13/09’ and in graphite (?): ‘28’.

Height: 181 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 27/30mm apart)
Width: 164 millimetres

Generally good; the brown wash much faded; a little rubbed in places, especially behind the nearer knee; a small repair at top left edge; a few traces of graphite, e.g. at top left side, perhaps added by a later hand.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.5:
A preparatory study for the etching, in reverse, of 'Diana at the Bath' (Bartsch 201, Hind 42; for an impression in the British Museum, see 1829,0415.17 and 1998,U.7). There are numerous small differences between them: the quiver of arrows is placed in front of, rather than behind, the figure, and the forms of the drapery and the tree trunk and shrubbery behind are elaborated. The second, raised version of the left arm in the drawing, originally shown in a lowered position, was retained in the print.
The etching is signed but not dated. Like the drawing it is generally placed at the end of the Leiden period. Among Rembrandt's dated drawings, the closest stylistic comparison is with the 'Seated old Man' in red chalk in Washington, of 1630 (Benesch 37). Thus the date of c.1630-31 that is usually proposed for the present sheet is acceptable. The repetition of the same profiles by the indented lines, here seen for example around the figure's knees, seems unusual, but is also found in the study of a 'Seated old Man' in Berlin (Benesch 41), used for the etched 'Bust of an old Man with a flowing Beard' (Bartsch 291, Hind 26) of the same period. The harshness of some of the outlines may be due to the drawing's having been partly indented for transfer to the copper plate with the sharp point of the black chalk.[1]
It has been noted that studies of the nude are not common in Dutch art of the time of Rembrandt's etching, least of all when the figure remains as unidealised as here.[2] The present drawing, presumably made from life,[3] is the earliest set-piece study of the nude by Rembrandt to have survived. A comparable figure appears in the master's contemporaneous etching of a 'Naked Woman seated on a Mound' (Bartsch 198, Hind 43). Mythological subjects are also rare in Rembrandt's work of the Leiden period.
An etched copy after the head in the related print, but in reverse, was attributed by Rovinski to Lievens (Rov.83); a painted copy based on the print is in a private collection in Amsterdam (formerly Warneck collection).[4] Jan van Neck (1636-1716) produced a painting of 'Susannah', now in Copenhagen, in which he used the present figure, in the same direction as the drawing.[5]

[1] As first suggested by Benesch. Other indented drawings for prints by Rembrandt include the Berlin drawing mentioned above (Benesch 41), the Louvre 'St Paul' Benesch 15, the 'Portrait of Cornelis Claesz. Anslo' (here cat. no.31; 1848,0911.138) and the 'Jan Six' in Amsterdam (Benesch 768); mention should also be made of the 'Ecce Homo' oil sketch on paper in the National Gallery (Bredius 546, Corpus A89) which is also indented (see Royalton-Kisch, 1984 and in Exh. Amsterdam-London, 2000-01, pp.64-81). The black chalk on the verso has led to speculation concerning the colour of Rembrandt's etching ground which, of course, cannot be confirmed (see Lit. below).
[2] White, 1969, I, pp.172f. He suggests that Rembrandt may have been inspired by an etching by Willem Buytewech, Holl.2. A painting of a nude by Rembrandt is recorded in the 1656 inventory of his possessions, no.80 (see Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, p.357). Clark, 1966, argued that the increased flabbiness of the figure in the etching was intended to shock. Hollander, 1975, pp.108 and 160, argues (somewhat unconvincingly) that the nude conforms to contemporary ideals.
[3] Schatborn, 1993, p.164, notes that the revised arm is sketchier and probably not drawn from life.
[4] Bredius 461, private collection, Amsterdam, now universally rejected as a copy based on the etching.
[5] Repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, 1983, p.151.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt and for the etching unless otherwise stated; refs to painting are to that mentioned in n.4 above):
Vosmaer, 1868, pp.21 and 423 (c.1631; notes brown wash); Robinson, 1869/76, no.773/794 (states that the sheet is heightened with white chalk); Vosmaer, 1877, pp.106 and 490 (as in 1868); Middleton, 1878, p.250, under no.256 (erroneously as for Bartsch 198, Hind 43); Seidlitz, 1895/1922, under no.201 (c.1631); Lippmann, IV, no.75; Kleinmann, II, no.49; Voss, 1905, p.157 (based on a nymph in 'Diana and Actaeon' by Titian); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.893 (c.1630-31; notes indentations); Baldwin Brown, 1907, pp.113 and 138 (accepts painting); Exh. Paris, 1908, under no.112; Six, 1908, p.58 (c.1631, quotes a letter from Hind: 'The traced lines are not nearly so evident here as in the Anslo [here cat. no.31]. It is possible that some attempt was made to slightly cover in chalk or press the paper.'); Wurzbach, 1910, p.417; Hind, I, 1912/24, pp.52 and 61 and under no.42 [the page refs. for 1912 ed. only] (as HdG, but doubts painting); London, 1915, no.9 (as Hind, 1912); Eisler, 1918, pp.44-5 and p.124 (c.1630); Graul, 1920, pp.12-13; Kauffmann, 1920, p.65 (interest in mythology begins in early Amsterdam period); Weisbach, 1926, p.240-41 and fig.62 (c.1630-31; poor relationship of the head to the neck); Van Dyke, 1927, p.90 (by Horst, as also the etching); Byam Shaw, 1928, p.31, n.1; Hind, 1932, p.77-8 (as 'red' chalk [!]); Bauch, 1933, pp.213 and 216 (c.1651; agrees with rejection of Warneck painting); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.598 (c.1631); Benesch, 1935, p.10 (c.1630-31; more hesitant than nudes of early Amsterdam period); Bredius, 1937/35, p.19, under no.461 (the painting also for the etching); Kieser, 1941-2, p.151, n.2 and p.153, n.5 (characterisation of model divorced from subject; compares drawing of Diana formerly T. Christ coll., Benesch 116); Hamann, 1948, pp.30, 214, 218, and 386, repr. fig.150 (c.1631; unusual early interest in the antique); Rosenberg, 1948/64, I, p.153/259 and 11, repr. fig.221 (early preference for chalk in nude studies); Münz, 1952, 1, p.79, under no.134 and II, p.13 (the etching c.1631; blackened on the verso; Rembrandt's etching ground likely to have been white); Boeck, 1953, pp.210-12, repr. fig.187 (the drawing more like a study from nature than the print); Benesch, I, 1954/73, no.21, repr. fig.34/25 (as HdG.; the drawing indented partly with the stylus, partly with the hard black chalk); Biörklund and Barnard, 1955, p.40 (c.1630-31); Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956, p.72, under no.69a (c.1630-32; compares 'Female Nude reclining' in Stockholm, Benesch 193a); Exh. Warsaw, 1956, under no.70; White, 1956, p.124 and fig.33 (confirms blackening of verso; only lightly indented, thus the copper plate perhaps prepared with a white ground as suggested for the etchings by Münz in 1952); Gerson, 1957[I], p.148; Sumowski, 1957-8, pp.237 and 243 (as Exh. Rotterdam-Amsterdam, 1956); White, 1962, pl.23 (c.1631); von Moltke, 1965, p.217, under no.D.210 (believes Flinck used same model in late 1630s for cat. no.D.210 in P. Brandt coll., Amsterdam; compares his no.D.213 of same period also in Brandt coll.); Slive, 1965, II, no.524, repr. (c.1630-31); Clark, 1966, repr. p.11, fig.10 (see n.2 above); Morse, 1966, p.100 (as Münz, 1952); Haak, 1969/68, p.58, fig.82 (c.1630-31; chalk verso); White, 1969, I, pp.13n, 130n, 162, 173-5, and 177, repr.11, fig.257 (c.1631; see n.2 above); White and Boon, 1969, I, p.98, under no.201; Exh. Vienna, 1970-71, p.36, under no.47 (the painting a copy); White, 1973, p.139 (one of three indented drawings by Rembrandt [but see n.1 above]; required in this case because of relative inexperience and desire for elaborate, pictorial print); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.30; Reznicek, 1977, p.94, n.45 (inspired Jordaens); Clark, 1978, p.44, repr. fig.41a (as in 1966); Strauss and van der Meulen, 1979, p.478 (with discussion of Rembrandt's etching-ground); Bruyn, 1983, p.54, n.15; Amsterdam, 1985, under no.52, n.3 (direct transformation of a figure study into a mythological scene) and under no.77 (rare combination of chalk and wash); Corpus, II, 1986, pp.465 and 491 (c.1631); Schatborn, 1986, pp.6-7 (c.1631); Exh. Paris, 1986, p.52, under no.19 (fixes lighting and pose, the rest elaborated on plate); Exh. Exeter, 1988, p.7 and repr. fig.1; Royalton-Kisch, 1993[I], p.17; Schatborn, 1993, p.164 (from life, apart from the alternative arm); Schatborn, 1994, p.21 (perhaps Amsterdam period; only with Uylenburgh would he have drawn from the nude – also the pendant 'Nude on a Mound', Bartsch 198); Sluijter, 2000, p.194, n.11 (background chalk lines compared with underdrawing in Mauritshuis 'Self-Portrait', Bredius 6, Corpus A21, the authenticity of which he defends); Exh. Boston-Chicago, 2003-4, p.281; Exh. Tokyo, 2004, pp.115, 143 and 146 (Rembrandt's first nude; sense of reality); Berlin, 2006, pp.104 and 111, under nos 25 and 27; Hinterding, 2006, p.70; Sluijter, 2006, p.271, repr. p.269, fig.241 (notes antecedents in Buytewech, Carracci and Raphael); Exh. Paris, 2006-7[II], p.135, under no.51, repr. fig.90; Paris, 2008, under no.158.

nude (all objects)
classical mythology (scope note | all objects)
classical deity (scope note | all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Artemis/Diana (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Baron Jan Gijsbert Verstolk van Soelen (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Gérard Leembruggen (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Possibly C. Josi, sale, London, Christie’s, 18 March and following days, 1824, lot 118, ‘A female at the Bath’, bt Shirley, with lot 117 (‘An historical sketch of two figures’) 9s-6d; Jan Gijsbert, Baron Verstolk van Soelen; his sale, J. de Vries, A. Brondgeest and C. F. Roos, Amsterdam, 22 March and following days, 1847, lot 39, ‘Susanne, épiée au bain’, bt Roos, f.25; Gérard Leembruggen Jz.; his sale, Roos, Engelberts, Lamma and Roos, Amsterdam, 5 March and following days, 1866, lot 479, ‘Susanne au bain’, f.40, bt Robinson for Malcolm (the price according to Vosmaer, 1868/77); John Malcolm of Poltalloch (L.1489 verso); purchased with his collection, 1895.

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A4 (1631, for the etching and the Warneck picture [see Comment]; retouched in places with hard graphite);
1938, no.9;
1956, p.10, no.11a (as Hind, 1912);
1992, BM Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.5, repr. in colour;
Amsterdam-London, 2000-2001, 'Rembrandt The Printmaker' pp.64 and 100, repr. p.66, fig.1;
2001-2, Edinburgh-London, 'Rembrandt's Women', p.77, no.10
2016-2017 16 Sep-23 Jan, Paris, Musee Jacquemart-Andre, Rembrandt Intime

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