Rembrandt's drawings and sketches: powerful strokes.
Albertina, Vienna. Black Chalk, 230x340 mm by Rembrandt in 1637.
"A woman Sleeping".
Brush and Wash in Bistre, 245x203 mm by Rembrandt in about 1655.
Have you ever wondered who this lady actually is and (now) what the link could be with the elephant?
Both are rendered by Rembrandt back in the 17th century, and through pure coincidence, I discovered who Rembrandt sketched sleeping back in 1655.
This beautiful figure is very likely Hendrickje Stoffels, Rembrandt's second wife and mother to his daughter Cornelia (born in 1654). The original can be seen in the British Museum in London.
Last week, a nasty virus (our youngest was its victim) kept me away from crossing my studio's threshold but luckily not from catching up on some long overdue reading. One of the books I picked up and couldn't put down was: "Rembrandt Drawings - 116 Masterpieces in Original Color". 2007, Dover Publications, Inc. Mineola, New York.
I loved it. This hardcover has been earmarked more than I've earmarked a book in a very long time.
I was mesmerized.
"Woman carrying a child downstairs". Morgan Library Museum, NY. Pen& Bistre wash. 185x133 mm by Rembrandt in about 1636.
"The Screaming Boy". Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin. Pen&Bistre, wash, white body colour, black chalk. 206x143 mm by Rembrandt in about
"Old Woman holding a Child in Leading Strings". Nationalmuseum, Stockholm. Pen & Bistre. 160x165 mm by Rembrandt in 1645.
So much of the work struck a cord...(see above!) and the feeling of entering a great Master's world through another door thrilling.
The artist who left us immense masterworks such as the Night Watch, "The Anatomy lesson of Dr Tulp" or "Bathing woman" is portrayed in this book in a different light, with a focus being brought to lines, lined texture to the bone structure and knowledge needed for achieving full blown master piece.
(Illustrated above are: The Night Watch,1642 Rijkmuseum Amsterdam. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, 1632, Mauritshuis, The Hague. Bathing Woman, 1654, National Gallery, London.)
I was enthralled, drawings and etchings had taken center stage and were sitting proudly in the spotlight (yeah!). Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijns' drawings were of an amazing caliber and power.
Red Crayon, 129x119 mmby Rembrandt van Rijn in about 1637
Studying the work featured, one is taken back into Rembrandts' world, a world of strong religious imagery, of real people, of 17th century scenery. A world studied by a man grounded in his time, by a man wanting to learn and understand the human condition, by a man who spoke through his work.
Each stroke beautiful.
"A Mounted Officer", British Museum, London. Pen&Wash in bistre, red chalk, yellow water colour, heightened with white and some oil colour. 210x164 mm by Rembrandt in about 1638.
Each stroke studied, understood."Saskia seated in an Armchair". Le Louvre, Paris. Red& white chalk. 147x110 mm by Rembrandt in about 1635.
Each stroke meaningful.
"Woman wearing costume, seen from Back", Teyler Museum. Pen&wash in bistre. 220x150 mm by Rembrandt in about 1642.
A book I highly recommend to anyone wanting to see and understand a little more about who Rembrandt was and ... the power of his strokes.