An Artist in His Studio

Object Details

Title:

An Artist in His Studio

Artist/Maker(s):

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606 - 1669)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

about 1630

Medium:

Pen and brown ink

Dimensions:

20.5 x 17 cm (8 1/16 x 6 11/16 in.)

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Using only pen and ink, which shows every mistake, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn created the space and volume of an artist's studio with a spare use of line. He drew the easel and the painting first, as the point of reference for the artist and the other objects. He later added the perspective lines that converge beyond the right edge of the paper; they served to confirm his intuition about the correct construction of objects in space. The heavier reinforcing lines at the bottoms of the chair and easel indicate adjustments to their placement.

Some scholars have labeled this drawing as a self-portrait in which Rembrandt himself views a panel from a distance, developing a mental image of the whole picture before he begins to work. Alternatively, other scholars argue that it depicts Rembrandt's friend and fellow Leiden artist Jan Lievens, who began his pictures by making a rough sketch in paint directly on the canvas.

Exhibitions
Drawing the Figure from Leonardo da Vinci to Lucien Freud (November 20, 1999 to February 27, 2000)
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales, (Sydney), November 20, 1999 to February 27, 2000
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001
Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (May 28 to August 25, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 25, 2002
Rembrandt's Journey: Painter, Draftsman, Etcher (October 26, 2003 to May 9, 2004)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, October 26, 2003 to January 19, 2004
Paper Art: Finished Drawings in Holland 1590-1800 (September 6 to November 20, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 6 to November 20, 2005
Drawings by Rembrandt and His Pupils: Telling the Difference (December 8, 2009 to February 28, 2010) (ii)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 8, 2009 to February 28, 2010