© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Zacharias(?) and the Angel exhibits the impetuous, zigzag pen lines that are a salient feature of Rembrandt’s technique from the mid-1630s. He used the sketch to address an artistic and iconographic problem that deeply engaged him and his pupils: the portrayal of a human response to divine revelation and intervention in affairs of this world. By isolating the protagonists from their narrative context, he concentrated exclusively on their interaction, but the omission of a setting or any reference to the narrative hampers the identification of the subject. When the elderly priest Zacharias went alone into the temple to burn incense, an angel appeared and promised that a son, the future John the Baptist, would be born to him and his barren wife. Incredulous, Zacharias asked, “Whereby shall I know this?” The angel rebuked him for doubting God’s messenger, and this exchange is probably the subject of the drawing.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
1999.163
People
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch (Leiden 1606 - 1669 Amsterdam)
Title
Zacharias (?) and the Angel
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1635
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Brown ink on off-white antique laid paper, two framing lines in brown ink
Dimensions
10.9 x 11.5 cm (4 5/16 x 4 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, upper center, graphite: No. 7.
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite, partially erased: J. 5788
  • watermark: none
  • collector's mark: verso, lower center, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
Provenance
Comte de Robiano, Brussels, sold; [Muller, Amsterdam, 15 - 16 June 1926, lot 418]; to [Muller (bought in).] Anton W.M. Mensing, Amsterdam, sold; [Muller, Amsterdam, 27-29 April 1937, lot 200 (as Govert Flinck)], to Frits Lugt, Maartensdijk. Carl Robert Rudolf, London (L. 2811b, without his mark), sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1975 (L. 3306, verso, lower center); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, 1999.163.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Accession Year
1999
Object Number
1999.163
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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

Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, Phaidon Press (Oxford, 1954 - 1957), vol. 1, cat. no. 132, p. 37, repr. fig. 144

Werner Sumowski, "Bemerkungen zu Otto Beneschs Corpus der Rembrandt-Zeichnungen I", Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin, Gesellschafts- und sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe (1956-1957), vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 255-81, p. 257

C. R. Rudolf, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr. C. R. Rudolf, Arts Council of Great Britain, London (London, England, 1962), cat. no. 121, p. 23

Hans-Martin Rotermund, Rembrandts Handzeichnungen und Radierungen zur Bibel, Ernst Kaufmann Lahr (Stuttgart, Germany, 1963), pp. 12-13 and 311, repr. p. 38, fig. 15

Hans-Martin Rotermund, Rembrandt's Drawings and Etchings for the Bible, Pilgrim Press (Philadelphia, PA, 1969), pp. 13 and 311, repr. p. 38, fig. 15

Otto Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt [enlarged ed.], Phaidon Press (Oxford, 1973), vol. 1, cat. no. 132, pp. 37-38, repr. fig. 158

Franklin W. Robinson, Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, exh. cat., International Exhibitions Foundation (Washington, D.C, 1977), cat. no. 31, pp. 33-34, repr. fig. 31

William W. Robinson, "Abrams Dutch Drawings Given to the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.", Apollo (December 1999), vol. 150, pp. 14-16, p. 16

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. 44, pp. 114-15 and 256, repr.

Michiel C. Plomp, "[Review] Bruegel to Rembrandt. Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection.", Oud Holland (2004), vol. 117, no. 1/2, pp. 99-102, pp. 99 and 101 (n. 3)

Susan Lumenello, "Picturing an Exhibition: On the Making of 'Rembrandt'", Colloquy [Harvard Alumni Quarterly] (Fall 2006), pp. 2-3, 11, repr. cover (detail)

Ivan Gaskell, Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2006), checklist

Holm Bevers, Rembrandt: Die Zeichnungen im Berliner Kupferstichkabinett, exh. cat., Hatje Cantz Verlag (Ostfildern, Germany, 2006), under cat. no. 10, p. 55

Peter Schatborn, Rembrandt and his Circle: Drawings in the Frits Lugt Collection, Thoth Publishers and Fondation Custodia (2010), vol. 1, under cat. no. 1, p. 24, repr. vol. 2, p. 214, fig. 1

Peter C. Sutton and William W. Robinson, Drawings by Rembrandt, his Students and Circle from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Bruce Museum and Yale University Press (New Haven and London, 2011), cat. no. 2, pp. 11, 18 and 42-43, repr. p. 43 and detail p. 38

The Drawings of Rembrandt: a revision of Otto Benesch's catalogue raisonné, website, 2012, Benesch 132, and under Benesch 94a

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), pp. 20-21; cat. no. 67, pp. 228-230, repr. p. 229

Exhibition History

Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr. C. R. Rudolf, Arts Council Gallery, London, London, 01/05/1962 - 02/03/1962; City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, 02/17/1962 - 03/11/1962; Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds, 03/17/1962 - 04/07/1962

Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 01/30/1977 - 03/13/1977; Denver Art Museum, Denver, 04/01/1977 - 05/15/1977; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 06/01/1977 - 07/15/1977

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

Abrams 50th reunion exhibition, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/2004 - 06/14/2004

Rembrandt and the Aesthetics of Technique, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 09/09/2006 - 12/10/2006

Rembrandt Prints & Drawings, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, 11/05/2008 - 12/14/2008

Drawings by Rembrandt, his Students and Circle from the Collection of Maida and George Abrams, Bruce Museum, Greenwich, 09/24/2011 - 01/08/2012; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 04/15/2012 - 07/08/2012

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

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