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
Hendrick Goltzius, Dutch (Mühlbracht 1558 - 1617 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Seated Woman
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Allegorical Female Figure
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Brown and black ink, white opaque watercolor on cream antique laid paper
21.2 x 12.8 cm (8 3/8 x 5 1/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Brown ink, center left: HG (in ligature)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston, Massachusetts
Object Number
European and American Art
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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), cat. no. 23, repr.

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

32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/08/2017 - 01/17/2018

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

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