barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


A Sheet of Studies

Netherlands, mid-1630s

Pen, brown wash and red chalk

Sheet 220 x 233mm; mount 680 x 560mm


This sheet contains nine studies of five different figures and is the finest such drawing by Rembrandt to survive intact.

Rembrandt was renowned for carrying a sketchbook around Amsterdam in which he would rapidly draw anything that aroused his curiosity. In this case, he draws a plump man wearing a fur coat and a plumed hat, a man in a turban, a woman nursing her child and a youth leaning on a ledge. The use of three different media and the careful placing of the studies on the sheet suggest that the drawing was made as a deliberate demonstration of the artist’s skill.

Purchased 1949 (No. 49.10)

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