The J. Paul Getty Museum

Two Studies of the Head of an Old Man

Object Details

Title:

Two Studies of the Head of an Old Man

Artist/Maker:

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

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

1626

Medium:

Pen and brown ink, torn down the center and rejoined

Object Number:

83.GA.264

Dimensions:

9 × 14.9 cm (3 9/16 × 5 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

In his bold, vigorous, and economical style, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn examined this man's pensive face from two directions. He presented the eyes as dark caverns, with shadows alone defining the ear, cleverly allowing the blank paper to do the rest. Broad pen strokes develop areas such as the neck, shoulder, and back of the head.

Rembrandt often preferred to draw and paint older figures, subjects whose greater life experiences showed in their faces. As a French scholar wrote in 1909, "He is there when we are old, when we look fixedly at the side of the night that comes."

Provenance
Provenance
- 1981

Private Collection (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Christie's, November 16, 1981, lot 32.]

- 1983

Art Market (Boston, Massachusetts), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
17th Century Dutch Drawings (July 21 to October 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 21 to October 4, 1992
Dutch Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (August 16 to October 23, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), August 16 to October 23, 1994
Casting Characters: Portraits and Studies of Heads (November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004
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