Rembrandt School, circa 1640
Study of Two Figures (recto); Study of a Seated Gentleman (verso)
Pen and brown ink, 61 x 98 mm (2.4 x 3.9 inch)
- The Rev. R.C. Griffith, St Mary’s, Beverley, United Kingdom
- Anonymous sale Phillips, London, 6 July 1994, lot 2, repr.
This vivacious study of two seated figures was drawn around 1640 by a pupil of Rembrandt (1606–1669). Drawings from this extremely productive school are notoriously difficult to attribute to specific artists, but the angular handling which can be observed in the present sheet is reminiscent of Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621–1674), who trained with Rembrandt from 1635 to 1641.
Because of the sketchiness of the sheet it is not entirely clear what the two figures are doing. They seem however to have some books or documents on a table in front of them. It could be speculated that they are fellow students in Rembrandt’s studio, engaged in drawing. It could indeed be a self-portrait of the draughtsman, observed in a mirror. The right figure especially seems to be observing intently, while leaning over his work. The drawing seems similar in spirit to Samuel van Hoogstraten’s Self Portrait in the Hermitage, St Petersburg (see last image), which also shows comparable headwear.
The drawing was owned by the Rev. R.C. Griffith in the early 19th century. Not much is known about this clergyman except that he was Chaplain to the Marquess of Bath in 1830.
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