Arti­cle: Artists, Collectors, and Dutch Drawings in the Seventeenth Century

By: Robert Fucci

Most, if not all, sev­en­teenth-cen­tu­ry Dutch artists began draw­ing in earnest as the under­ly­ing basis of their train­ing.1

Appren­tice artists drew relent­less­ly in order to mas­ter every­thing from the rudi­ments of form to the most advanced aspects of light­ing, com­po­si­tion, and expres­sion. Stu­dents worked in stages, first by copy­ing two-dimen­sion­al works, espe­cial­ly prints, and inan­i­mate three-dimen­sion­al objects, such as plas­ter casts of ancient sculp­ture or artic­u­lat­ed wood­en dum­mies. After time, they drew from live mod­els in the stu­dio or ven­tured out­side to record the world around them. As stu­dents, their com­pe­tence and progress were nec­es­sar­i­ly mea­sured through their draw­ings. As pro­fes­sion­als, most artists con­tin­ued to prac­tice and hone their skills on a reg­u­lar basis. Pop­u­lar at the time was the leg­endary adage of the Greek painter Apelles, Nulla dies sine linea—lit­er­al­ly, No day with­out a line.“2

For some artists, an even deep­er fun­da­ment can be found in cer­tain tales by early biog­ra­phers, though these are less dis­cussed in the art his­tor­i­cal lit­er­a­ture due to their easy label­ing as myth: specif­i­cal­ly, draw­ing as a pas­sion of the artists as chil­dren. Not all of the great mas­ters of the era came from artis­tic fam­i­lies where ready mate­ri­als were at hand, and the instruc­tion free of charge and encour­ag­ing. Those from other fam­i­lies, one reads, were often resource­ful and even amus­ing­ly insub­or­di­nate in their innate zeal for draw­ing. Many such sto­ries were told with rel­ish by Arnold Houbrak­en (1660 – 1719) in his volu­mi­nous Groote schouburgh der Ned­er­lantsche kon­stschilders (Great the­ater of Dutch painters) pub­lished in 1718 – 21, an indis­pens­able source of biogra­phies of sev­en­teenth-cen­tu­ry Dutch artists.3

Houbrak­en tells us that Frans van Mieris (1635 – 1681) (see cat. nos. 5354), whose draw­ings are rel­a­tive­ly scarce today, was in the habit of draw­ing fig­ures and ani­mals in char­coal on the walls of his father’s work­shop as a boy, lead­ing to his place­ment with a local draw­ing mas­ter.4

That the act of draw­ing made pos­si­ble the early recog­ni­tion of tal­ent in a child is a trope that stretch­es back to sto­ries of early Renais­sance artists.5

Houbrak­en’s account of the youth of Govert Flinck (1615 – 1660) (see cat. no. 19) offers an extreme exam­ple of such an ori­gin story.6

His father, who was a silk mer­chant and tax offi­cial in Cleves, was appalled by his son’s desire to become an artist. The young Flinck was there­fore absolute­ly for­bid­den to make draw­ings. Houbrak­en quotes his father’s out­rage: God pre­serve me that my own son should become a painter. Those sorts of peo­ple are most­ly lib­ertines, and they lead unin­hib­it­ed lives!” Despite this painful rejec­tion, Flinck, the story goes, used his spare change to buy draw­ing mate­ri­als and a lamp, so that he could copy prints lent to him by a local glass painter after every­one was in bed. His father dis­cov­ered him one night, and in a fit of anger tore up all his draw­ings and beat him severe­ly. It was only after meet­ing the Men­non­ite (and one pre­sumes per­fect­ly well-man­nered) painter Lam­bert Jacob­sz that his father final­ly allowed Flinck to leave the house to train with Jacob­sz in Leeuwar­den. He would later com­plete his train­ing with Rem­brandt in Ams­ter­dam, where he even­tu­al­ly set­tled and became a high­ly suc­cess­ful painter. Flinck­’s story is one like many oth­ers, both told and untold, that show how draw­ing was not only a bedrock of artis­tic prac­tice in both instruc­tion­al and pro­fes­sion­al terms, but could also have under­tones of early pas­sion, strug­gle, and delight.

Paint­ing and print­mak­ing each required a greater range of equip­ment and train­ing. The pur­pose of those two medi­ums was almost always the cre­ation of artis­tic end prod­ucts from the out­set. An artist’s body of draw­ings, how­ev­er, espe­cial­ly at the open­ing of the sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry, was still a type of mate­r­i­al large­ly held pri­vate­ly by the artists them­selves. Draw­ings were often func­tion­al in nature and kept in the stu­dio for poten­tial use. Sketch­es, fig­ure stud­ies, com­po­si­tion­al stud­ies, and other types of prepara­to­ry draw­ings served in the pro­duc­tion of paint­ings or prints — and, on occa­sion, for the pro­duc­tion of more fin­ished draw­ings intend­ed for gift, sale, or exchange.

An artist’s col­lec­tion of draw­ings was a valu­able asset, built slow­ly over the years, and not to be part­ed with light­ly. Some col­lec­tions were passed down through artist fam­i­lies, such as that of Abra­ham Bloe­maert (1566 – 1651), many of whose stud­ies com­posed an ate­lier the­saurus (or visu­al trea­sury”) that remained in the work­shop (cat nos. 12).7

The pub­li­ca­tion of his Teken­boek (Draw­ing Book) around 1650 made an engraved and print­ed selec­tion of these stud­ies avail­able to the larg­er pub­lic, and it was obvi­ous­ly received well, hav­ing been reprint­ed sev­er­al times into the eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry.8

An artist’s stu­dio remains could also pass between a mas­ter and pupil, or be active­ly acquired by a for­mer pupil. Many draw­ings by Adri­aen van Ostade (1610 – 1685) (see cat. no. 62) found their way into the hands of Cor­nelis Dusart (1660 – 1704).9

One of Van Ostade’s draw­ings great­ly inspired Dusart’s Milk Sell­er Before a House or Inn in the Peck Col­lec­tion (cat. no. 63), though in this instance we know he had access to Van Ostade’s own draw­ing of the sub­ject before his mas­ter died, like­ly while Dusart was still a late-stage apprentice.

The dis­per­sal of the stu­dio col­lec­tion of draw­ings owned by Rem­brandt (1606 – 1669) offers a spe­cial case. In 1657 – 58, he was forced to sell near­ly all his pos­ses­sions to pre­vent bank­rupt­cy, includ­ing his entire col­lec­tion of art, antiques, and curiosa. Among the items dis­persed were twen­ty-five albums of draw­ings, which must have con­tained a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of sheets, like­ly over 1,000.10

His col­lec­tion con­tained many draw­ings of his own mak­ing, as well as a large num­ber by other mas­ters that he had acquired with great effort and expense, includ­ing scores of draw­ings by Ital­ian Renais­sance artists. Rem­brandt had the unusu­al dis­tinc­tion of wit­ness­ing dur­ing his life­time his own stock of draw­ings fall unin­tend­ed­ly into the hands of oth­ers, who no doubt great­ly appre­ci­at­ed them. There is also evi­dence he had kept a large selec­tion of draw­ings by his pupils in these albums.11

Before his insol­ven­cy, Rem­brandt ran what was eas­i­ly the largest ate­lier in Ams­ter­dam. He trained dozens of artists and employed numer­ous assis­tants, some of whom were quite tal­ent­ed and whose draw­ings remain dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish from both his own and those by other mem­bers of his stu­dio.12

As sober­ing as it is to con­sid­er, all of Rem­brandt’s draw­ings in the Peck Col­lec­tion were like­ly part of the sales that deprived the artist of so much of his val­ued work (though one could argue that the sales also ensured the preser­va­tion of work­ing mate­r­i­al that could have oth­er­wise eas­i­ly been lost). His Seat­ed Man Warm­ing His Hands by a Fire (cat. no. 38) and Man with a Walk­ing Stick Wear­ing a Fur Cap (cat. no. 24) are just the types of stud­ies that he would have kept on hand for poten­tial use. In fact, he like­ly used the lat­ter as a model for one of the fig­ures in his famous etch­ing, Christ Heal­ing the Sick (The Hun­dred Guilder Print). Rein­forc­ing the notion that such draw­ings were not meant to cir­cu­late beyond the stu­dio is Rem­brandt’s own hand­writ­ten note on Stud­ies of Women and Chil­dren (cat. 17), which is the last of his self-anno­tat­ed draw­ings to reach a pub­lic collection.

The two other draw­ings by Rem­brandt in the exhi­bi­tion offer exam­ples of two equal­ly impor­tant but very dif­fer­ent sides of his draw­ing prac­tice. The mag­nif­i­cent Noli me tan­gere (cat. no. 39), depict­ing the moment that the newly risen Christ tells Mary Mag­da­lene not to touch him, shows him work­ing from the imag­i­na­tion,” or uit den geest, in which bib­li­cal scenes or other types of nar­ra­tive works drawn from his­to­ry or mythol­o­gy would be freely com­posed with the mind’s eye. Hun­dreds of such draw­ings sur­vive by Rem­brandt and his pupils, many depict­ing exact­ly the same scenes, lead­ing schol­ars to sus­pect that Rem­brandt would often assign a par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive for his stu­dents as part of their rou­tine train­ing.13

This required them to engage close­ly with the text of a story, per­haps togeth­er with the pre­vi­ous visu­al tra­di­tion in the form of prints and other draw­ings, and to reca­pit­u­late in their own visu­al terms the momen­t’s inher­ent drama, mean­ing, and emo­tion­al impact. Rem­brandt and his stu­dents ulti­mate­ly used some of these stud­ies to com­pose paint­ings, though these were exer­cis­es and not prepara­to­ry stud­ies from the out­set. Rem­brandt’s for­mer pupil, Samuel van Hoogstrat­en (1627 – 1678) (see cat. nos. 2223), who wrote a sub­stan­tial trea­tise on the art of paint­ing, repeat­ed­ly men­tioned that draw­ing was an activ­i­ty for the evenings, espe­cial­ly in win­ter when the days were short (and the nat­ur­al day­light need­ed for paint­ing in color fleet­ed early).14

Draw­ing exer­cis­es would have kept the work­shop busy and the stu­dents dili­gent. Flinck­’s own Sac­ri­fice of Manoah (cat. no. 19) shows him work­ing pure­ly from the imag­i­na­tion short­ly after he left Rem­brandt’s work­shop, swift­ly think­ing through the stag­ing and motions of a dra­mat­ic bib­li­cal scene with­out recourse to mod­els or other mate­r­i­al. Of par­tic­u­lar inter­est to Rem­brandt and his pupils were moments of divine man­i­fes­ta­tion, such as the unex­pect­ed reveal­ing of Christ’s iden­ti­ty in his Noli me tan­gere, or the shock­ing appear­ance of the angel in Flinck­’s Sac­ri­fice of Manoah.

Rem­brandt’s Land­scape with Canal and Boats (cat. no. 41) offers an exam­ple of anoth­er impor­tant side of his draw­ing prac­tice, work­ing naar het leven, or from life.” Rem­brandt would wan­der the coun­try roads and dikes out­side of Ams­ter­dam, per­haps with com­pa­ny or some­times alone, where he record­ed the nat­ur­al sur­round­ings with his own dis­tinc­tive vision. He most­ly pro­duced land­scapes in a fif­teen-year peri­od between 1641 and the mid-1650s.15

He did so pri­mar­i­ly in his works on paper, using a broad graph­ic vocab­u­lary to evoke light, air, and depth. While his two dozen or so land­scape etch­ings reached a broad­er audi­ence than his draw­ings, the lat­ter by far com­prised the greater por­tion of his land­scape out­put, num­ber­ing well over 100 sheets today. His inven­to­ry reveals he held onto most of his land­scape draw­ings, with his inven­to­ry list­ing three of his twen­ty-five port­fo­lios of draw­ings devot­ed to them.16

Many of Rem­brandt’s most remark­able land­scape draw­ings actu­al­ly ended up in the hands of Flinck­’s son, Nico­laes Anthoni Flinck (1646 – 1723), who became a great col­lec­tor of draw­ings.17

Nico­laes was one of the first to stamp his draw­ings with a col­lec­tor’s mark (the let­ter F), though the absence of such a mark on the Peck Col­lec­tion land­scape sug­gests it was not part of his col­lec­tion. It is entire­ly pos­si­ble that he inher­it­ed Rem­brandt’s land­scape draw­ings from his father, who may have acquired a selec­tion of them at the bank­rupt­cy sales. The elder Flinck would not have been the only artist to avail him­self of Rem­brandt’s col­lec­tion. We know from the inven­to­ry of the painter Jan van de Cap­pelle (1626 – 1684) that he owned upward of 500 draw­ings by Rem­brandt, like­ly includ­ing the port­fo­lio that con­tained the Peck Col­lec­tion’s Stud­ies of Women and Chil­dren (cat. no. 17).18

Rem­brandt, Flinck, and Van de Cap­pelle were not the only artists who were seri­ous col­lec­tors of draw­ings by oth­ers at the time. Pieter Saenredam (1597 – 1665), Philips Kon­inck (1619– 1688), and Cas­par Netsch­er (1635/36 – 1684) all came to pos­sess sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of draw­ings by other mas­ters.19

It comes as no sur­prise that artists them­selves, espe­cial­ly if they had enough finan­cial means, would assem­ble col­lec­tions of draw­ings in earnest. What became increas­ing­ly blurred, how­ev­er, was the dis­tinc­tion between the artist as col­lec­tor of stu­dio mate­r­i­al and the artist as a col­lec­tor-con­nois­seur.20

In terms of using other artists’ draw­ings as stu­dio mate­r­i­al, a cer­tain amount of artis­tic appro­pri­a­tion indeed took place. Saenredam, for exam­ple, made use of the Roman sketch­books of Maarten van Heemsker­ck (1498 – 1574), then in his pos­ses­sion, to paint an image with the church of Santa Maria della Feb­bre near­ly a cen­tu­ry after Heemsker­ck made his draw­ing of it.21

Such a use would not like­ly have raised any eye­brows. There were lim­its, how­ev­er, and one story points to the fact that con­tem­po­raries would have frowned upon wide­spread appro­pri­a­tion. Houbrak­en report­ed that the artist Philips Wouw­er­man (1619 – 1668) on his deathbed had his col­lec­tion of fig­ure stud­ies by the then long miss­ing and pre­sumed dead Pieter van Laer (1599 – after 1642) (see cat. no. 13) burned before his eyes in order to hide the fact that he had been using them for some time to add fig­ures to his paint­ings.22

This dra­mat­ic leg­end passed down in Haar­lem art cir­cles before reach­ing Houbrak­en’s ears. Inter­est­ing­ly, and lend­ing cre­dence to the tale, at least one fig­ure study by Van Laer sur­vives (per­haps escap­ing the fire) that clear­ly served for a paint­ing by Wouw­er­man.23

Such a case, if true, was uncom­mon. Most of the avid artist-col­lec­tors in this era did not acquire draw­ings for reuse in the stu­dio as prepara­to­ry mate­r­i­al. Pure­ly as con­nois­seurs, artists were the best equipped to under­stand and acute­ly appre­ci­ate the mate­ri­als, tech­niques, styles, and func­tions of draw­ing as an inde­pen­dent medium.

The class of pas­sion­ate col­lec­tors who were not them­selves pro­fes­sion­al artists had cer­tain­ly found draw­ings attrac­tive before the sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry and glad­ly acquired them, espe­cial­ly if they were more fin­ished works rather than prepara­to­ry mate­r­i­al that had some­how escaped the stu­dio. The signed and dated Man with Plumed Hat, Depict­ed as Sculpt­ed Bust from 1605 by Jacob Math­am (1571 – 1631) (cat. no. 5) is a good exam­ple of the type of free­stand­ing draw­ing that would appeal to col­lec­tors. His for­mer pupil, Jan van de Velde II (1593– 1641) (cat. no. 16), like­wise a print­mak­er by pro­fes­sion, also made fin­ished draw­ings for col­lec­tors on the side. With great pre­ci­sion, both artists used draw­ing as a means to pro­mote their skill with a pen by freely adapt­ing the more lap­idary graph­ic line of the engraver. Archival doc­u­ments from 1641 show that Van de Velde actu­al­ly received one of the ear­li­est-known com­mis­sions to cre­ate a series of draw­ings specif­i­cal­ly of his own inven­tion (to be land­scapes and per­spec­tives” accord­ing to the patron), though unfor­tu­nate­ly none appear to have sur­vived.24

What changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly in the sev­en­teenth cen­tu­ry was the rise of a wide­spread accu­mu­la­tion of draw­ings in gen­er­al by these col­lec­tors. Such fer­vor appears to have shift­ed the work pri­or­i­ties of cer­tain artists, who almost cer­tain­ly increased their pro­duc­tion of draw­ings in order to take advan­tage of this increase in demand. Jan van Goyen (1596 – 1656) (cat. nos. 3637), for exam­ple, and the broth­ers Her­man (1609 – 1685) (cat. nos. 1228) and Cor­nelis Saftleven (1607 – 1681) (cat. nos. 2751), to name but a few, devot­ed a con­sid­er­able por­tion of their artis­tic activ­i­ties to the pro­duc­tion of fin­ished draw­ings. Many of these give every appear­ance of hav­ing been drawn direct­ly from nature, but some artists actu­al­ly craft­ed their draw­ings to look this way by mak­ing use of their stock of sketch­es and stud­ies. Boy with Two Laden Don­keys in the Hills by Willem Romeyn (c. 1624 – 1695) (cat. no. 66) is decep­tive­ly nat­u­ral­is­tic, but the fig­ure of the boy comes from a study that must have been made over three decades ear­li­er, and two of the pack ani­mals were also the sub­ject of sep­a­rate study draw­ings. With­out such evi­dence, it can often be dif­fi­cult to tell if an artist made a land­scape draw­ing most­ly or par­tial­ly on-site, or whether it was entire­ly the prod­uct of work in the stu­dio. Craft­ing the con­vinc­ing appear­ance of hav­ing been taken from life was more impor­tant than adher­ing to the actu­al prin­ci­ple of doing so.

Fur­ther telling of an increase in the appre­ci­a­tion of draw­ings in this era is the more fre­quent pro­duc­tion of auto­graph copies. Over time, art his­to­ri­ans have gained a bet­ter view of the extant drawn oeu­vres of many artists, and this has made clear that some artists cer­tain­ly copied their own draw­ings from time to time. Bartholomeus Breen­bergh (1598 – 1657) brought a cache of draw­ings with him back from Italy around 1629, after which he occa­sion­al­ly made new ver­sions of his Ital­ian sub­jects.25

Cliffs, Pos­si­bly near Brac­ciano in the Peck Col­lec­tion (cat. no. 8) bears an Ital­ian water­mark and was like­ly the pro­to­type for two later ver­sions in which he freely var­ied the style, but not the com­po­si­tion itself. Pieter de Moli­jn (1595 – 1661) (see cat. no. 45) made a num­ber of rel­a­tive­ly exact copies of his own draw­ings in the early 1650s, like­ly to meet demand.26

Trav­el­ers in an Ital­ian Land­scape by Nico­laes Berchem (1621/22 – 1683) (cat. no. 44), one of his best and most exten­sive­ly fin­ished draw­ings, is actu­al­ly a copy made through inno­v­a­tive tech­ni­cal means. This sheet, dated 1655, repro­duces in reverse his draw­ing of the same com­po­si­tion from 1654 that he used to make his cel­e­brat­ed paint­ing of the sub­ject now in the British Royal Col­lec­tion. It appears that Berchem made a coun­ter­proof of his 1654 draw­ing to cre­ate a basic out­line, and then worked it up with a num­ber of wash­es care­ful­ly applied by hand.27

That Moli­jn’s and Berchem’s copies date to the early 1650s is per­haps no acci­dent. Van Goyen’s peak pro­duc­tion of fin­ished draw­ings comes from this peri­od as well. One might rea­son­ably ask if there were any fac­tors that drove what appears to be a sud­den spike in the demand for draw­ings. The answer pos­si­bly relates to the avail­abil­i­ty of paper at the time. After wide­spread Euro­pean war­fare ended with the Treaty of Mün­ster in 1648 (end­ing the Eighty Years’ War) and the Peace of West­phalia the same year (end­ing the Thir­ty Years’ War), trade routes once again opened in full. Paper­mak­ers like­ly found a ready mar­ket in the Nether­lands, which did not make much paper suit­able for draw­ing at that point. A whole new range of water­marks also emerged in this peri­od, such as the Seven Provinces and Arms of Ams­ter­dam, which made clear their role in serv­ing specif­i­cal­ly for the export mar­ket in the Nether­lands after being man­u­fac­tured in Ger­many, Switzer­land, or France.28

What we call fin­ished draw­ings, those that seem more or less autonomous, and often signed, were not the only type of draw­ings that cap­tured the atten­tion of col­lec­tors. Houbrak­en reli­ably tells us, for exam­ple, that con­nois­seurs would clam­or over the fig­ure stud­ies on blue paper by Jacob Backer (1608– 1651), such as his Study of a Man Hold­ing a Glass (cat. no. 21).29

Most of Back­er’s fig­ure stud­ies prob­a­bly first appeared on the mar­ket as part of the estate of his broth­er, Tjerk, who died in 1659.30

Even though Backer had retained his fig­ure stud­ies, it is appar­ent that he rarely made use of them for his paint­ings. The same can be said for those by Dusart, such as his Study of a Young Man Stand­ing with His Foot on a Stool (cat. no. 64), which was prob­a­bly once part of the album of 251 fig­ure stud­ies list­ed in his post­mortem inven­to­ry, only a frac­tion of which sur­vive today.31

Even though he held onto his fig­ure stud­ies, Dusart also exe­cut­ed many fin­ished draw­ings for col­lec­tors, such as his signed and dated Bag­piper (cat. no. 65). This is one of the few sev­en­teenth-cen­tu­ry Dutch draw­ings on the then-cost­ly and unusu­al sup­port of Japan­ese paper, which had great appeal for col­lec­tors at the time. Cor­nelis Saftleven also drew a remark­ably large num­ber of fig­ure stud­ies through­out his career, few of which he used for his paint­ings, but in his case one can­not help won­der­ing if he craft­ed some of those that he mono­grammed and dated, such as Study of a Boy Car­ry­ing a Sack (cat. no. 51), specif­i­cal­ly to cater to a demand among col­lec­tors for this type of work.

In gen­er­al, the use of the term fin­ished draw­ing” seems both impre­cise and too broad in appli­ca­tion. Fig­ure stud­ies could func­tion as autonomous works of art whether they were steered toward col­lec­tors or retained by the artists them­selves. Many of the draw­ings that sur­vive from the era could be said to fall into a cat­e­go­ry that tends to escape dis­tinc­tion: the seem­ing­ly fin­ished draw­ings that artists made with no imme­di­ate or obvi­ous inten­tion to part with them. Artists often assid­u­ous­ly pro­duced draw­ings for their own keep­ing with­out any need for them to func­tion as ready inven­to­ry, ref­er­ence draw­ings, or ped­a­gog­i­cal mate­r­i­al. Rem­brandt’s land­scape draw­ings could be said to fall into this cat­e­go­ry, as well as many of the beau­ti­ful­ly exe­cut­ed fig­ure stud­ies from which many artists seem to have derived a great deal of plea­sure in mak­ing and preserving.

When speak­ing of the func­tions of draw­ings, it is use­ful to return once again to Houbrak­en’s life of Govert Flinck. On Sun­days, we are told, after fin­ish­ing his reli­gious oblig­a­tions, Flinck would put down his brush­es and tra­verse the canals of Ams­ter­dam to visit artists and col­lec­tors.32

He was not in the habit of fre­quent­ing the tav­erns where artists gath­ered to drink in the evenings (one gets a sense of his father’s lin­ger­ing voice in this regard), but he did like to social­ize with his col­leagues on occa­sion to dis­cuss the usual mat­ters of their pro­fes­sion. The col­lec­tors he most often vis­it­ed, Houbrak­en informs us, were none other than Jan Six (1618 – 1700) and Johannes Uyten­bo­gaert (1608 – 1680). Flinck was no longer a boy sneak­ing vis­its to a local glass painter in Cleves to see his mod­est col­lec­tion of prints, but now a major name in the Ams­ter­dam art world with an open invi­ta­tion to view two of the most sub­stan­tial and esteemed col­lec­tions of paint­ings, draw­ings, and prints in the Netherlands.

Accord­ing to Houbrak­en, Flinck not only used these vis­its to learn how to dis­tin­guish the styles of var­i­ous mas­ters, but also to glean the beau­ti­ful” from them in ways that he sought to apply to his own works. The remark­able open­ness of these col­lec­tors to Sun­day vis­its from respect­ed artists such as Flinck goes unmen­tioned, but one would like to imag­ine that the dis­cus­sions that took place while view­ing their port­fo­lios con­tain­ing count­less draw­ings and prints of the high­est qual­i­ty offered a con­ge­nial end to their week. Six and Uyten­bo­gaert were decid­ed­ly not men of leisure; they were high­ly active cit­i­zens engaged in the most press­ing polit­i­cal and busi­ness mat­ters of the day. For them, such col­lec­tions func­tioned in far more mean­ing­ful ways than mere­ly con­fer­ring sta­tus. These Sun­day meet­ings pro­vid­ed all at once a social­ly and art-the­o­ret­i­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant inter­change between artists and art-lovers, a well­spring that lent the learned and curi­ous great sat­is­fac­tion, and as a source, most sim­ply, of the mind-still­ing visu­al won­der that the best artists could achieve. When we look at draw­ings and dis­cuss them in terms of their func­tion — their orig­i­nal func­tion — we are still only telling part of the story. These draw­ings func­tion today in the same ways they already did for Flinck, Six, Uyten­bo­gaert, and every artist and art-lover in between who found and con­tin­ue to find in them respite, recharge, and inspiration.


  1. For draw­ing as a basis of train­ing for sev­en­teenth-cen­tu­ry Dutch artists, see Ams­ter­dam 1984 – 85; Bolten 1985; Walsh 1996; Van de Weter­ing 1997, 46 – 73; Kwakkel­stein 1998; Schapel­houman 2006; H. Bev­ers in Los Ange­les 2009 – 10, 1 – 29; W. W. Robin­son & P. Schat­born in Wash­ing­ton & Paris 2016 – 17, 5 – 16; and G. Lui­jten in idem, 34 – 52.

  2. G. Lui­jten in Wash­ing­ton & Paris 2016– 17, 36.

  3. Houbrak­en 1718 – 21.

  4. Houbrak­en 1718 – 21, vol. 3, 1 – 2.

  5. For the hero myth of the young artist in biogra­phies, see Kris & Kurz 1979, 13 – 38.

  6. Houbrak­en 1718 – 21, vol. 2, 18 – 20.

  7. Bolten 2007, vol. 1, 361.

  8. For the Teken­boek, see Bolten 1985, 253 – 56; Bolten 1993; Roeth­lis­berg­er & Bok 1993, vol. 1, 389 – 94; Nogrady 2009, 226 – 31; and Bolten 2017b.

  9. Schnack­en­burg 1981, 60 – 61; and Ander­son 2015.

  10. Strauss & Van der Meulen 1979, 367 – 79, doc. 1656/12. Regard­ing his col­lec­tion of draw­ings, see Ams­ter­dam 1999 – 2000; and Plomp 2018, 47 – 50.

  11. H. Bev­ers in Los Ange­les 2009 – 10, 27 – 29.

  12. For issues relat­ed to the attri­bu­tion of draw­ings by Rem­brandt and his School” (some­times com­pris­ing artists who may not have stud­ied with him but whose style is sim­i­lar), see Roy­al­ton-Kisch 1992, 17 – 20; P. Schat­born & W. W. Robin­son in Bev­ers 2022, 31 – 41; and Bev­ers 2022 (a review of Schat­born & Hin­ter­d­ing 2019, con­tain­ing a major revi­sion of Rem­brandt’s drawn corpus).

  13. For this idea, see H. Bev­ers in Los Ange­les 2009 – 10, 20. This may have con­scious­ly par­al­leled the prac­tice of the Car­rac­ci acad­e­my in Bologna.

  14. Van Hoogstrat­en 1678, 191; see also Cor­pus, vol. 5, 58, 219.

  15. For Rem­brandt’s land­scape draw­ings, see Gnann 2021; Ams­ter­dam & Paris 1998 – 99; and Wash­ing­ton 1990.

  16. Strauss & Van der Meulen 1979, 348 – 88, doc. 1656/12, nos. 244, 256, 259.

  17. For Nico­laes Flinck and his col­lec­tion, see Plomp 2001, 106 – 07; Plomp 2018, 51 – 52; and the entry for Lugt 959 (http://www .mar​ques​decol​lec​tions​.fr). He also made a num­ber of land­scape etch­ings, no doubt inspired by Rem­brandt’s exam­ple; see Van Camp 2010.

  18. Bredius 1892, 37 – 40.

  19. For these artists as col­lec­tors of draw­ings, see Plomp 2018.

  20. Idem, 46.

  21. Whee­lock 1995, 349 – 53; and Plomp 2018, 46 – 47.

  22. Houbrak­en 1718 – 21, vol. 2, 73.

  23. Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéolo­gie, inv. no. D805; see P. Schat­born in Wash­ing­ton & Paris 2016– 17, 116 – 18, no. 37.

  24. For this com­mis­sion, see Fucci 2018a, 79 – 82, 273 – 274, docs. 88 – 89. The relat­ed doc­u­ments were first pub­lished by Abra­ham Bredius in Obreen 1877 – 90, vol. 7 (1888 – 90), 112 – 13. Van de Velde died later that year, but a sec­ond doc­u­ment sug­gests that he had indeed com­plet­ed one or more of the drawings.

  25. See Roeth­lis­berg­er 1969, 9, nos. 13 – 14, 99 – 100; as well as Alsteens 2015.

  26. For a study and cat­a­logue of Moli­jn’s auto­graph repli­cas, see Beck 1997. For one of these in the Ack­land Art Muse­um (donat­ed by Shel­don Peck in 1988), see T. Riggs in Gill­ham & Wood 2001, 58 – 59, no. 18.

  27. Aside from the entry in the present cat­a­logue, see also Fucci 2022b for Berchem and coun­ter­proofs generally.

  28. T. Lau­ren­tius in Chapel Hill, Itha­ca & Worces­ter 1999 – 2001, 28 – 33.

  29. Houbrak­en 1718 – 21, vol. 1, 338.

  30. Bredius 1915 – 22, vol. 4, 1241 – 42; and J. van der Veen in Ams­ter­dam & Aachen 2008 – 09, 25.

  31. Bredius 1915 – 22, vol. 1, 65.

  32. Houbrak­en 1718 – 21, vol. 2, 23.

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