print study / drawing

St Francis, study for a print; seated in a chair to l, wearing hood and robe Red chalk


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1836,0811.347

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 12
Sumowski 1979 continuing 1590
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Lievens.J.3

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 Jan Lievens (biographical details | all objects)
1631 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)
British (all objects)

A seated hermit; formerly St Francis, seated in a chair to left, wearing hood and robe. c.1632

Red chalk, the outlines indented; traces of framing lines in brown ink.

Verso: laid down on eighteenth-century card.

No watermark visible.

Inscription Content: Inscribed lower right, in graphite: ‘J.L.’; on the verso of the backing card, in graphite: ‘6 / original drawing’.

Height: 189 millimetres (chain lines vertical, 24mm apart)
Width: 139 millimetres

Good, although probably trimmed; the paper has discoloured, and there are some minor spots and stains.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Jan Lievens, cat. no.3:
The drawing is Lievens' preparatory study for his etching, in reverse, which is traditionally but wrongly identified as representing St Francis, who died aged 44 (Hollstein 17). The etching shows the figure wide awake rather than asleep and seated on a ledge in a cave or grotto, with bundles of straw. In the first state, the print, like the drawing, indicates the setting only cursorily, but Lievens elaborated it in a touched proof in the British Museum and in subsequent states of the print.
The relationship between this drawing and other works made by both Lievens and Rembrandt in around 1631 is close. In a drawing of a 'Bust of an old Man' now in a private collection, which may be based on the same model, the pose and lighting (but not the costume) are similar,[1] and it is close in composition to a drawing by Rembrandt of the same subject, now in Stockholm.[2] Among Lievens' paintings, the pose of 'St Jerome' in a work in the Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden of 1630 is the closest, although the figure is there scantily draped, and the setting of the related etching is reminiscent of the 'Job' of 1631, now in Ottawa.[3] Lievens also made a second etching, on a smaller scale (Hollstein 16), based on the present drawing. A date for the latter c.1630 seems likely.

[1] Repr. Exh. Amsterdam, 1988-9, p.36, no.12; Royalton-Kisch, 1991[III], p.414, fig.5; Exh. Kassel-Amsterdam, 2001-2, pp.176-7, no.18 (for the attribution of this drawing, see also the work here as 'attributed to Rembrandt', cat. no.73, inv. no.Ff,4.121).
[2] Nationalmuseum, Benesch 38. The same model may appear in the Washington drawing, Benesch 42, which is now sometimes ascribed to Lievens (see P. Schatborn in Exh. Leiden, 1991-2, p.70). A pensive seated old man is also the subject of Rembrandt's drawing in Berlin, inv.1151, Benesch 41.
[3] The paintings respectively Sumowski, 'Gemälde', III, no.1242, repr. p.1881 and no.1191, repr. p.1830. The former is on paper stuck down on panel and is related to Lievens' etching, Hollstein 15.

London, 1915, p.86, no.12, repr. pl.LIV (for the etching; drawn here from a model who appears often in Rembrandt's early works); Van Dyke, 1927, p.104; Köhne, 1932, p.51; Schneider, 1932/73, p.187, no.Z.11 and p.262, under no.R6 (iconography uncertain; the print perhaps after a lost painting); Bauch, 1939, pp.259-60; Hollstein, XI, p.15, under no.17; Haverkamp-Begemann, 1973, p.107; Sumowski, 1979 etc., VII, 1983, no.1590, repr.; Holtrop, 1988, pp.26 and 29, repr. fig.7 (Lievens influenced by Rembrandt); Schatborn, 1990 (1989), pp.122-3, repr. fig.12 (c.1630; Rembrandt's influence seen in concentration on tone); Exh. Washington-Milwaukee-Amsterdam, 2008-9, no.100, repr. (c.1630-31).

Associated names
Representation of St Francis (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from William Smith, the printseller (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Sheepshanks (L.2333) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
François Fagel; his sale, London, T. Philipe, 2nd day, 28 May, 1801, lot 96, bt Thomson, £1; John Sheepshanks (L.2333); purchased with his collection, through Messrs Smith, 1836.

Exhibition History
1956, London, p.32, no.3a;
1979, Braunschweig, p.28 and no.54, repr. p.145 (not St Francis, who died aged 44; later Leiden period, comparable to Rembrandt's drawing, Benesch 20, of 1631 [now private collection , New York]);
1988/9, Amsterdam, no.14, repr. (influence of Rembrandt; figure here sleeps, unlike the related etching);
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle (not in catalogue).
2008/9 Oct-Jan, Washington, NG of Art, Jan Lievens (1607-1674)
2009 Feb-April, Milwaukee Art Museum, Jan Lievens (16077-1674)

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