The Adoration of the Shepherds, after Rembrandt; a stable interior with the Virgin and St Joseph and other figures kneeling, beyond a man in a turban holding a lantern Red chalk, with pen and brown ink and brown wash


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1203

Bibliographic reference
Sumowski 1979 continuing 1792x (Maes)
Hind 1915-31 3 (as Maes)
JCR 735
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Hoogstraten.3

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 Samuel van Hoogstraten (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Nicolaes Maes (biographical details | all objects)
After Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1646 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The Adoration of the Shepherds; after Rembrandt, a stable interior with the Virgin and St Joseph and other figures kneeling, beyond a man in a turban holding a lantern. c.1646
Red chalk, with red and brown wash, and pen and brown ink, touched with white; traces of black chalk in figures of St Joseph and the Virgin
Verso: see Inscriptions
Watermark: foolscap with bells five-pointed collar, comparable to Hinterding F.c.a. (of c.1632)

Inscription Content: Inscribed verso, in graphite, lower right: ‘18 / 5 sheet [?]’

Height: 260 millimetres (arched top, chain lines vertical, 25mm apart)
Width: 189 millimetres (top rounded)


Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Samuel van Hoogstraten after Rembrandt, cat. no.3:
The drawing is a copy, accurate in most respects, after Rembrandt's painting of 1646, painted for the Stadholder.[1] The copyist has not articulated the shadows thrown against the wall by the ladder, or the staff held by the standing shepherd next to the man with the lantern, as well as other, minor details.
The attribution to Maes, first voiced in the nineteenth century, was based on a supposed connection between the drawing and a painting of 1658 by Maes of the same subject, now in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.[2] But this is a horizontal composition which - although influenced by Rembrandt's - is in reverse, with the Virgin and Child towards the left. Once the drawing was recognized as a copy, the attribution lacked foundation. The more convincing identification of the copyist as Samuel van Hoogstraten, supported here, was first voiced in 1965.[3] The neat, not to say dry outlines, and the geometrical approach to form, are characteristic of Van Hoogstraten, who was active in Rembrandt's studio at the time that Rembrandt made the picture (Maes may only have joined Rembrandt's studio later). For comparison, there is another version of the same subject in Hamburg, signed by Van Hoogstraten.[4] This is completed with wash, lending the sheet a similarly pictorial air, and the qualities noted in the pen outlines of the British Museum drawing are replicated. To a lesser extent, the signed and dated drawing of 1646 in the British Museum of 'Balaam blessing the Israelites' (here cat. no.1; 1895,0915.1175) also has analogous stylistic traits, although the handling there exhibits the livelier traits of an original sketch over the work of a careful copyist.
In 1647, Van Hoogstraten produced a painting of the 'Adoration of the Shepherds' which has some general similarities with Rembrandt's composition.[5]

[1] Bredius 574.
[2] Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, 1983, no.1318, repr.; formerly in the Salamanca Collection.
[3] Sumowski, 1965[I], although he later reverted to the old attribution (see Lit. below).
[4] Sumowski 1102.
[5] Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, 1983, no.823, repr.. The painting is now in the Dordrechts Museum.

Robinson, 1869/76, no.720/735 (Maes; as from Lawrence [wrongly], Woodburn [as by Rembrandt] and Robinson collections; a study for painting formerly in Salamanca coll. [now Montreal]); London, 1915, pp.90-91, no.3, repr. pl.LIX (doubtful as Maes); Hofstede de Groot, 1915[II], p.62 (not Maes); Hirschmann, 1918, p.24 (after Munich painting; attribution to Maes most uncertain); Lugt, 1921, p.260; Valentiner, 1923, p.22 (Maes, after Munich painting); Valentiner, 1924, p.27 (as in 1923); Van Dyke, 1927, pp.112 and 119, repr. pl.xxxii, fig.126 (by Van der Pluym for his painting in Munich given to Rembrandt); London, 1960, p.312, n.1; Sumowski, 1965[I], p.255, n.2 (by Hoogstraten); Exh. Munich, 1966/67, p.25, under no.29 (Maes after Rembrandt's painting in Munich); Munich, 1967, p.71 (as previous); Munich, 1973, p.166, under do.1143 (as Maes, referring to Sumowski 1965[I]); Bruyn, 1988, p.328 (Maes); Sumowski, 1979 etc., VIII, 1984, no.1792x, repr. (Maes, early); Corpus, III, 1989, p.16 and n.21 (Maes; enumerating copies drawn after Rembrandt paintings by his pupils); Robinson, 1996 diss., p.98, n.7 (not Maes); Blanc, 2008, p.51, repr. fig.8 (by Maes; compares Maes's other versions of the subject).

Described in the Malcolm catalogue as 'the finished sketch for a picture sold in the Salamanca collection in 1868' (see Hind).

adoration of shepherds (all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Virgin Mary (biographical details | all objects)
Representation of St Joseph (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Samuel Woodburn (his sale, Christie's, 13.vi.1860/1392 as 'Rembrandt, Van Rhyn - The adoration of the shepherds - red) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Thomas Miller Whitehead (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Sir John Charles Robinson (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (bought 21 October, 1868, for £9-10-0) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Samuel Woodburn; J.C. Robinson; his sale, Paris, 7-8 May, 1868, lot 66 (presumably unsold); purchased from Robinson by John Malcolm of Poltalloch, 21 October, 1868, for £9-10-0; (According to annotated copy of Robinson, 1876, in the British Museum) purchased with his collection, 1895.

Exhibition History
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue, as Maes).

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