The J. Paul Getty Museum

Study of a Man Talking to a Woman Seated on the Left

Object Details


Study of a Man Talking to a Woman Seated on the Left


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




about 1635–1636


Pen and brown ink

Object Number:



10 × 10 cm (3 15/16 × 3 15/16 in.)

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Object Description

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn communicated the emotional exchange between these two people with economy and force. He clearly demonstrated the man's stern admonishment as he turns to face the woman's darkened gaze. Concentrating on both faces and the man's hands--the carriers of the drama--Rembrandt used only a few calligraphic strokes to describe the pair's clothing and give them a sense of three-dimensionality. He also engaged the paper, making the blank areas as active in describing the scene as the lines themselves. Even in a rapid sketch, Rembrandt created a sense of narrative, drama, and character.

Rembrandt may have depicted an early event in the Old Testament story of the prophet Samuel. When Samuel's future mother Hannah moved her lips while silently praying to God to give her children, the high priest Eli reproached her, thinking she was drunk.

17th Century Dutch Drawings (July 21 to October 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 21 to October 4, 1992
Masterful Likeness: Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (July 24 to October 28, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 24 to October 28, 2018