The angel appearing to Gideon; who is on one knee at r moving a wheatsheaf, farm buildings and a cart behind at r, trees to l and a larger building beyond Black chalk and watercolour, with some red chalk and graphite


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: SL,5236.121

Additional IDs

Bibliographic reference
Hind 1915-31 1
Sumowski 1979 continuing 614
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Eeckhout.4

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 Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (biographical details | all objects)
1647 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

The angel appearing to Gideon; who is on one knee at right moving a wheatsheaf, farm buildings and a cart behind at right, trees to left and a larger building beyond. c.1647

Black chalk, with brown and grey wash, touched with red chalk and graphite.

Verso: blank (see Inscriptions).

Watermark: letters 'I H S' with a cross, comparable to Churchill 538.

Inscription Content: Lower left, signed in black chalk: ‘G Eeckhout’; verso inscribed with register number.

Height: 243 millimetres
Width: 337 millimetres (chain lines horizontal, 27-8mm apart)

Generally good; slightly rubbed, especially lower right, and slightly trimmed.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, ‘Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school’, 2010, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, cat. no.4:
The subject has been generally identified as the 'Angel appearing to Gideon' (Judges VI, 11-12): Gideon, the son of a farmer, was told by the angel as he was threshing wheat that the Lord wanted him to rescue Israel from the Midianites. The accuracy of this identification is uncertain, as other possible subjects exist and because Gideon hid the wheat from Midianite bandits in a wine-press, of which there is no clear indication here (although a vine grows around the building behind).[1]
The composition is close to van den Eeckhout's painting, dated 1647, in the Brera, Milan, which however includes the figure of a woman in the doorway behind Gideon.[2] Were it not for the signature, the last four letters of which appear to be authentic (the earlier section is damaged), the drawing might be dismissed as a copy after the painting. The execution is uncharacteristically dry throughout; in particular the wash could be a later addition, its application being unusually temperate.
Whether the drawing served as a 'modello' for the painting, or as a later 'ricordo', is difficult to judge. Its unique character might best be explained by its being the only surviving example of the latter by van den Eeckhout, although the possibility that it is a later copy is difficult to discount altogether.[3]
The composition is derived from the artist's earlier treatment of the related subject of 'Gideon's Sacrifice' in a painting of 1642,[4] and is closer to this than to his 1644 painting of the 'Angel appearing to Gideon' now in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.[5]

[1] It is possible that the subject is the 'Angel at the Threshing-Place of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite', as related in 2 'Samuel' XXIV, 16 and 1 'Chronicles' XXI, 19-30: the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, but the Lord relented on the intercession of David, who set up an altar on the threshing-floor where the angel had stood. The subject of the related painting has sometimes been associated with the story of Araunah (see Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, 1983, under no.404.
[2] Repr. Sumowski, loc. cit..
[3] Compare the watercolour of 'Boaz and Ruth', apparently signed and dated 1667, copied from a painting formerly on the Berlin art market (the drawing sold Sotheby's, London, 2 July 1990, lot 117 with colour reproduction; Sumowski 663, the related painting repr. fig.48 and Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, 1983, no.460), which as Dr Hans-Ulrich Beck discovered (saleroom notice at Sotheby's in 1990) was acquired by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel at the sale of Jan van Dyck, Amsterdam, 14 March, 1791, lot P-11, as by Reinier Vinkeles after van den Eeckhout.
[4] Present whereabouts unknown (Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, 1983, no.392, repr.); there are two related drawings in Braunschweig (inv.242 and 330; Sumowski 601-2), and others of this subject in Paris, Petit Palais (Sumowski 711x and 727x) and Haarlem (inv. P*61 verso; Sumowski 755x verso, repr. fig.50).
[5] Repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, 1983, no.400.

London, 1915, p.75, no.1, repr. pl.XL; Van Dyke, 1927, p.62 (possibly genuine Eeckhout); Henkel, 1931, p.84 (related sketch in Braunschweig, inv.242 [Sumowski 601]); Popham, 1939, p.69 ('unpleasant but characteristic example'); Sumowski, 1962, p.18, repr. p.16, fig.14 (for 1647 painting in the Brera, Milan, perhaps the 'modello'; notes related sketch on verso of sheet in Haarlem, Teyler Museum, P.*61); Exh. Bremen-Zurich, 1967, p.86, under no.183; Exh. Chicago-Minneapolis-Detroit, 1969-70, under no.164 (as Sumowski, 1962; earlier versions in Braunschweig related to painting in Otto J.H. Campe collection, Hamburg); Roy, 1972, p.213, under no.18, repr. fig.3; Sumowski, 1979 etc., III, 1980, no.614, repr. (perhaps the 'modello' for the 1647 Brera painting).

old testament (all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Gideon (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane (acquired with his collection) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Perhaps in the collection of an anonymous later seventeenth-century collector (L.2942; the mark is cut and could have been some other letter or digit by another hand) prior to Hans Sloane.

Exhibition History
No exhibitions recorded.

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