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.