Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The fluency, verve, and control with which Goltzius wielded his pen is exquisitely manifest in this signed and dated study. While the architectural elements are composed of regular parallel hatches, the seated woman is rendered using dense curving strokes, which skillfully describe the undulating folds of her dress. Her twisting torso and refined hand gestures further add to the sense of overt elegance that this drawing exudes. Although the specific subject of the composition remains unidentified, the overgrown ancient structures in the background and the attributes scattered in the foreground—a pen case, an inkwell, and an open book—recall contemporary representations of Clio, the Muse of History. Produced not long after Goltzius returned to Haarlem from his yearlong stay in Italy, this drawing also records the artist’s productive engagement with the Venetian artistic tradition, most notably the broad and fluid manner encountered in woodcuts and drawings by Titian.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1.2018.73
People
Hendrick Goltzius, Dutch (Mühlbracht 1558 - 1617 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Title
Seated Woman
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Allegorical Female Figure
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
1596
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Brown and black ink and white opaque watercolor on blue paper
Dimensions
21.2 x 12.8 cm (8 3/8 x 5 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: center left, brown ink: HG (in ligature)
  • inscription: lower left, brown ink: 1596
  • inscription: verso, upper left, brown ink: stley[?]
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: Le Parmesan / 4
  • watermark: None
  • collector's mark: lower left, blue stamp: CICERI (Pierre-Luc Charles Cicéri or Eugène Cicéri, Lugt 446)
  • collector's mark: lower center, black ink stamp: CHS. (Charles Saunier, Lugt 567a)
Provenance
Pierre-Luc Charles Cicéri or Eugène Cicéri, Paris (Lugt 446). Charles Saunier (1865-1941), Paris and Lozère sur Yvette (Lugt 567a). J. Johl-Schmuziger, Basel. Reinhold D. Hohl, Basel. Sold [through Sotheby's, Amsterdam, November 9, 1999, lot 43]. [Derek Johns, Ltd., London], sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 2000
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Promised Gift
Accession Year
2018
Object Number
1.2018.73
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), pp. 70-71, cat. no. 23, repr. p. 71

Exhibition History

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, British Museum, London, 06/13/2002 - 09/22/2002; Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 10/10/2002 - 12/08/2002; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

Mirror of Holland: Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Part 1, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 11/20/2010 - 03/06/2011

The Art of Drawing in the Early Dutch Golden Age, 1590–1630: Selected Works from the Abrams Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/09/2017 - 01/14/2018

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu