Saturday, July 18, 2015

15 Drawings by Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, Mughal from miniatures

In the 17th century, Rembrandt  made a set of etchings of people garbed in clothes uncannily similar to the north Indian attire of the time.


Four Orientals seated under a tree, c 1656-1661

Photo credit: British Museum


How did he, who never set foot out of the Dutch Republic know what “orientals” wore?


A Mughal nobleman on horseback, c 1656-1661
Height: 205 millimetres, Width: 177 millimetres

Photo credit: British Museum

A Mughal nobleman on horseback; after a Mughal miniature, a man, with slight beard, holding a two-headed lance seated on a horse which is rearing to right. c.1656-1661
Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash, touched with red and yellow chalk and white heightening and with some scraping-out, on oriental paper; the lance drawn with a ruler.



Indian Prince as Warrior, c. 1655
Brown ink, brown wash, black chalk and white opaque watercolor on Asian paper; later additions in gray wash and scratchwork, framing line in brown ink
18 x 7.3 cm (7 1/16 x 2 7/8 in.)
Photo credit: Fogg Museum of Art

Mughal miniatures might have made their way to the damp and distant home of the Dutch painter. 

A Mughal nobleman on horseback

At the Louvre

A Mughal Nobleman standing, after a Mughal miniature; WL, almost in profile to r, his r hand on the handle of a dagger in his belt. c.1656-61 Pen and brown ink, with grey and brown wash, touched with red chalk and heightened with white, on Oriental paper
Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
A Mughal Nobleman standing, 1656-1661 (circa)
paper Drawing
Height: 184 millimetres, Width: 112 millimetres
British Museum


A Mughal Nobleman standing; after a Mughal miniature, whole-length, almost in profile to right, his right hand on the handle of a dagger in his belt. c.1656-1661

Pen and brown ink with grey and brown wash, touched with red chalk (in the turban) and white heightening, on oriental paper. 

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
Shah Jahan, Netherlands (1654-56)
Pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash on Japanese paper.
Cleveland Museum of Art

Between 1656 and the early 1660s Rembrandt copied twenty-five drawings from contemporary miniatures from the Mughal Empire.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
The Emperor Timur Enthroned, (1654-56)
Pen and wash in Indian ink on Japanese paper.
Musée du Louvre, Paris

These are fifteen drawings of twenty-five he made.


Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
The Emperor Akbar and his Son Selim in Apotheosis, Leiden 1606
pen and brown ink, brown wash, corrected with white bodycolour
212 x 174 mm
Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


These drawings echoed in his later works, in turban styles and the drape and texture of certain fabrics. These were a part of a larger movement to represent Biblical scenes as happening in a non-European world.


Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
Shah Jahan and Dara Shikoh, 1654-1656
Pen and brown ink and brown wash
Japanese paper
8 3/8 x 7 in.
The J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (r.1627-58) with a walking stick and his eldest and favorite son, Dara Shikoh holding a falcon. Shah Jahan is perhaps best known as the builder of the Taj Mahal, which was a tomb for his beloved wife, Mumtaz. 

Two Orientals conversing, after a Mughal miniature; the man at r with a beard facing a younger, clean-shaven man, both wearing turbans and holding long swords. c.1656-61 Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, touched with white and with scraping out, on buff prepared Oriental paper
Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
Two Mughal noblemen, 1656-1661 (circa)
Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash
Height: 172 millimetres, Width: 214 millimetres
British Museum

Two Mughal noblemen; after a Mughal miniature, the man at right with a beard facing a younger, clean-shaven man, both wearing turbans and holding long swords.

Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash, touched with white and with scraping-out, on oriental paper prepared with pale brown wash; traces of framing lines in pen and pale brown ink visible towards the right of the lower edge; an accidental graphite mark below right figure.


Emperor Jahāngīr receiving an Officer. c.1656
paper Drawing
Height: 210 millimetres, Width: 184 millimetres
British Museum


Emperor Jahāngīr receiving an Officer; copy after a Mughal miniature, the Emperor, with halo, seated on a divan with a sabre in his left hand, a man holding a document standing before him at left. c.1656-1661

Pen and brown ink, with brown and grey wash, touched with white, on oriental paper. 

An Indian Lady, after a Mughal Miniature, 1656
Pen and brown ink on oriental paper
79 x 72 mm
Stichting Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


Shah Jahan, debout avec une fleur et une epee
Shah Jahan, Standing with a Flower and a Sword (1654-56)
Pen and brown ink with brown wash on Japanese paper.
The Frick Collection, New York

A Deccani Nobleman standing, after a Mughal miniature; WL, almost in profile to l, with moustache and slight beard, his l hand leaning on a sword, his r extended. c.1656-61 Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, with scraping out, on buff prepared Oriental paper
Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn
A Deccani Nobleman standing; 1656-1661 (circa)
Pen and brown ink with grey and brown wash
oriental paper
Height: 196 millimetres, Width: 158 millimetres
British Museum

A Deccani Nobleman standing; after a Mughal miniature, whole-length, almost in profile to left, with moustache and slight beard, his left hand leaning on a sword, his right extended. c.1656-1661

Pen and brown ink with grey and brown wash and scraping-out on oriental paper prepared with pale brown wash. 

Mughal, 17th century
Mughal











Acknowledgment: NEHScroll.ineuropalia