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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–1669)
Four Musicians with Wind Instruments, ca. 1638
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, some red and yellow-ochre chalk
7 1/16 x 5 1/4 inches (179 x 135 mm)
Thaw Collection; 2004.42
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Rembrandt may have made this drawing after witnessing a pageant in 1638 that included Africans and troupes of actors. The subject corresponds to descriptions of African musicians made at the time of the event. This work is one of four drawings on the subject; all display the same complex combination of media—atypical of Rembrandt's drawing technique—with red and yellow chalks, subtle tonal shifts from brown to reddish brown, and an impressively bold line.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.