Art Market (Germany)
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Studies of a Man Smoking and a Man Drinking (recto); Studies of a Man Smoking, a Head, and Calligraphic Flourishes (verso)
Dirk (Theodorus) Helmbreker (Dutch, 1633 - 1696)
Holland (Place Created)
16 × 18.3 cm (6 5/16 × 7 3/16 in.)
Dirk Helmbreker may have begun by sketching the partially crossed out figure on the verso, which is closely related to the smoker on the recto. First, he sketched a seated man lighting a pipe from a bowl, then changed the head's position to lean forward. Finally, with moistened red chalk, he overlaid the second head with a rather abstract third one that leans even farther toward the bowl, similar to the smoker's pose on the recto. On the more finished recto, Helmbreker caught the fleeting actions of two youths, a smoker seemingly standing and sucking in his breath to light a pipe and a boy seated behind a table and leaning back to drink from a jug. The drinker's sidelong glance enhances the scene's spontaneous, lifelike feeling. Someone may have trimmed the sheet, reducing these figures from three-quarter-length to the present half-length.