Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt townscape drawing

Stadspoort, Rembrandt Harmenz van Rijn, pen and wash drawing
Stadspoort, Rembrandt Harmenz van Rijn

In the collection of the Rijksmuseum; pen and brown ink, with wash; roughly 5 x 7 inches (138×196 mm).

You will sometimes hear those writing about art, myself included, use the phrase economy of notation. If you were to look up that phrase in my personal dictionary, the definition would be Rembrandt’s pen and wash drawings.

Though this could be called a “sketch” — likely drawn for Rembrandt’s own practice, study or simply a love of drawing — it’s complete. Nothing more is needed to convey this scene. There is light, atmosphere, depth, texture and a palpable sense of presence and place — all indicated with a minimum of gestural lines and a free application of tone in key areas.

Nothing essential has been left out; nothing inessential has been added.


3 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Rembrandt townscape drawing”

  1. Yeah, you said it. Always tougher to do than we think because what IS put in is so important. It must communicate much very simply.
    BTW, this Rembrandt kid is pretty good. Where did you discover him Charley? (haha)

    1. I dunno. He sells a lot of religious themed prints, takes on lots of students, and has a big workshop staff turning out stuff. I think he’s too commercial to really amount to much.

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