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

In addition to the peasantry and the upper classes, genre imagery also included depictions of soldiers. This drawing by De Gheyn II relates to an illustration in a printed manual that instructed soldiers in the handling of weapons. Here, the soldier is in the act of charging his caliver—a type of long portable firearm with a matchlock mechanism, introduced in Europe in the second half of the 16th century. Showing an mpressively posed soldier dressed in a splendid uniform and armed with a modern weapon, the image radiates Dutch pride in the power and strength of their military, which was one of the finest in Europe. Beyond its martial context, the drawing can be admired also for De Gheyn’s brilliant application of colored washes, which effectively describe the metal sheen of the soldier’s helmet and the creased, heavy fabric of his uniform.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Jacques de Gheyn II, Dutch (Antwerp, Netherlands 1565 - 1629 The Hague, Netherlands)
Soldier Charging His Caliver
Other Titles
Alternate Title: A Soldier with a Musket, Seen from the Rear
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Black and brown ink, black chalk, and watercolor; contours incised; silhouetted, on cream antique laid paper
irregular: 22.5 x 13 cm (8 7/8 x 5 1/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston, Massachusetts
Object Number
European and American Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
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. 28b, repr.

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 138, under cat. no. 37, repr. fig. 2

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

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