Exhibition Archive

Special Display of Rembrandt Drawings

2 February to 3 June 2007


Rembrandt van Rijn, Study for the painting A Girl at a Window
Rembrandt van Rijn, Study for the painting A Girl at a Window, 1645, graphite on paper,The Samuel Courtauld Trust, detail
A selection of drawings by Rembrandt, the first in a series of displays designed to complement the exhibition programme and to increase awareness of the Courtauld’s exceptional collection of c. 7,000 drawings, was on view from 22 February to 3 June 2007, coinciding with the opening of the exhibition Guercino: Mind to Paper.The display offered a rare opportunity to compare the work of Guercino (1591-1666), sometimes known as ‘the Rembrandt of the South’, with that of his famous Dutch contemporary.

The Courtauld cares for one of the most important and diverse collections of drawings by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–69) in Britain.  This special display featured a total of 19 drawings by or attributed to the master, executed in a variety of graphic techniques. The drawings covered a wide range of subjects and functions, and they included intimate drawings of Rembrandt’s wife Saskia, studies for finished compositions such as the celebrated Girl at the Window (Dulwich Picture Gallery, right) and St John the Baptist Preaching (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie), and a view of the town of Diemen. Also on show were several of the master’s single figure drawings, revealing his remarkable ability to capture both emotional expression and physical movement.

Mostly executed during the 1630s and 1640s, this rich group offered insight into Rembrandt’s creativity at the height of his career. The display also provideed an opportunity to consider disputed attributions, such as the bravura Seated Actor and A Quack Addressing a Crowd, the latter now considered by some scholars to be by Rembrandt’s gifted pupil Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-74).