Jacob's Dream; Jacob reclining in the foreground, a shady bank at l, an angel standing at the foot of a ladder behind with hand outstretched, a putto's face indicated above. 1630 Brush drawing in brown wash, with some pen and brown ink, heightened with white


© The Trustees of the British Museum

Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: Oo,10.119

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 1381
Hind 1915-31 2 (as Bol)
Royalton-Kisch 2010 Renesse.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
Formerly attributed to Ferdinand Bol (biographical details | all objects)
Formerly attributed to Rembrandt (possibly retouched by Rembrandt) (biographical details | all objects)
Attributed to Constantyn Daniël van Renesse (biographical details | all objects)
1650 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Jacob's Dream; Jacob reclining in the foreground, a shady bank at left, an angel standing at the foot of a ladder behind with hand outstretched, a putto's face indicated above. c.1650
Pen and brown ink with brown wash, heightened with white, retouched with the reed pen in brown ink; ruled framing lines in pen and brown ink.
Verso: laid down on eighteenth-century mat.
No watermark visible or recorded.

Inscription Content: None visible or recorded.

Height: 205 millimetres (arched top; chain lines vertical, 24mm apart)
Width: 195 millimetres (arched)


Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, attributed to Constantijn Daniël van Renesse, cat. no.4:
Acquired as by Rembrandt but generally doubted in the literature, the drawing echoes the master's style from the mid-1640s to 1650s. It has been suggested that the broader work in the angel's wings and elsewhere executed with the reed pen could be corrections by Rembrandt.[1] The retouches in the wings display a superior comprehension of form to the underlying drawing and in style they resemble the additions Rembrandt sometimes made to his pupils' drawings, such as the 'Annunciation' in Berlin attributed to Constantijn Daniël van Renesse (Benesch 1372, Sumowski; 2191xx). An attribution of this part of the drawing to Rembrandt would seem plausible were it not for the fact that the corrections to the figure of Jacob are less assured; they could have been made by the pupil to his own work.
Among Rembrandt's known followers the style is closest to van Renesse's and an attribution to him is tentatively suggested here. The detailed, rather painstaking underlying outlines, and the pictorial elaboration of the design with brown wash, are characteristic of the artist's drawings of c.1650, around the time of his period of study with Rembrandt. The style of the corrections is also commensurate with his practice. At all events the former attribution to Ferdinand Bol no longer seems tenable.[2]
A copy of the drawing with variations is in Braunschweig (inv.Z2175).[3]

[1] By Colvin in Exh. London, 1899, no.A86, an idea revived by Benesch.
[2] Made by Hind in London, 1915, but already questioned by Hirschmann, 1918 (see Lit. below). On van Renesse's reworking of his drawings in a broad manner, see Royalton-Kisch, 2000. Giltaij, 1995, p.102, suggested that the drawing was entirely by van Renesse.
[3] As noted in Exh. Braunschweig, 2006, p.138, under no.A5.

Bürger, 1858, p.399 (doubtful as Rembrandt; compares painting formerly in Viscount Dillon collection [now attributed to De Gelder and in Winterthur, repr. Sumowski, 'Gemälde', II, p.1217]); Michel, 1893, p.581 (Rembrandt); Kleinmann, II, no.41; Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.870 (doubtful as Rembrandt); Becker, 1909, pp. 112-13, repr. pl.XIII (appropriate mood of landscape); Wurzbach, 1910, p.417 (Rembrandt); London, 1915, p.61, no.2, repr. pl.XXX (by Bol; compares his etching, 'Gideon's Sacrifice', Bartsch 2 and drawing in Haarlem of 'Abraham kneeling', Sumowski 144x as well as his painting of 'Jacob's Dream' in Dresden, [cf. De Gelder, cat. no.3 (Oo,10.120), formerly associated by Hind with this painting] for which the British Museum sheet thought perhaps to be a study, like the Vienna drawing of this subject [now called Eeckhout, Sumowski 619; Bol's painting repr. Blankert, 1982, pl.3; Sumowski, 'Gemälde', I, pl.80]); Hirschmann, 1918, p.23 (not Bol); Van Dyke, 1927, p.47 (attribution to Bol questionable); Möhle, 1941, p.119 (Bol, c.1650); Benesch, VI, 1957/73, no.1381, repr. fig.1611/1695 (c.1655; corrected by Rembrandt; quotes Hind's attribution; compares figure of, Jacob to prophet in 'Lion and disobedient Prophet' in Budapest, Benesch C91 [repr. V.181]); Blankert, 1982, p.92, under no.5 (not Bol); Exh. Melbourne-Canberra, 1997-8, p.246, n.2 (compares other versions of the subject by Rembrandt's pupils); Giltaij, 1995, p.102 (corrections also by van Renesse); Exh. Braunschweig, 2006, p.138, under no.A5 (variant copy in Braunschweig, in Z2175).

old testament (all objects)

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

Acquisition date

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

Exhibition History
London, 1899, no.A86 (pupil’s work, possibly retouched by Rembrandt);
1956, p.31, no.2 (Bol);
1992, no.89, repr.

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