A Soldier on Guard Blowing the Match

Object Details


A Soldier on Guard Blowing the Match


Jacques de Gheyn II (Dutch, 1565 - 1629)






Pen and black ink and gray wash, incised for transfer


26.2 × 18.1 cm (10 5/16 × 7 1/8 in.)

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"To showe to posteritie the manner of souldiers apparel used in these dayes." So wrote Jacques de Gheyn of his goals for his lavishly illustrated book The Exercise of Arms,published in 1607. In this preparatory drawing for the book, de Gheyn strove to create the illusion of a living soldier, carefully modeled in the round and exhibiting a wealth of detail both in costume and weaponry. Focusing on the intricate task of lighting the fuse of his musket, the soldier wears a large plumed hat, billowing striped pantaloons, and high boots, with powder charges strung across his breast. De Gheyn used a simple but imposing pose to create interest, with long, diagonal lines created by the soldier's musket, his sword, and the intersecting angle of his musket rest.

Conceived as a military handbook for the infantry, Exercise of Arms contained one hundred and seventeen designs illustrating the use of the smallshot, the musket, and the pike. Count Johann II of Nassau-Siegen commissioned the text to give the Dutch army a set of clear and systematic military procedures for training soldiers. In the final edition, each image also contained a description of the action shown and its associated commands.

Drapery and Costume in European Drawings of the 15th through the 18th Century (March 28 to June 11, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), March 28 to June 11, 1995
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
The Art of the Fold: Drawings of Drapery and Costume (October 6, 2015 to January 10, 2016)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 6, 2015 to January 10, 2016