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

Whether derived from imagination or observed from life, portraits and head studies were a mainstay of Dutch draftsmanship of the early Golden Age. As the four drawings displayed at the center of this room show, the medium of pen and ink, with the occasional addition of washes, was popular among artists intent on producing technically refined and visually striking human likenesses. Jacob Matham’s Portrait of a Man stands out for its exceedingly controlled and meticulous pen work. This, in essence, is a showpiece, produced to celebrate the artist’s skill as a draftsman. Matham’s exacting study can be contrasted with the bold and painterly drawing manner of Jan van Bouckhorst, whose drawing depicts the allegory of the Three Ages of Man. A more informal approach was also adopted in Dirck de Vries’s Head of a Young Woman in Profile. Showing the woman’s unruly hair falling over her neck and eyes, and rendering her upper body in quick angular strokes, the drawing gives the impression of an intimate study done from life. While the model in De Vries’s work will likely remain anonymous, the sitter in the portrait by David Bailly can be identified as Dutch painter and draftsman Jan Pynas. Formal in approach and polished in execution, this drawing is the only known likeness of the artist, whose own landscape drawing is also included in this installation.

[25.1998.6, TL41760.4, TL41760.23, TL41760.24]

Identification and Creation
Object Number
David Bailly, Dutch (Leiden 1584 - 1657 Leiden)
Portrait of Jan Pynas
Work Type
Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
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Physical Descriptions
Brown ink and brown wash on cream antique laid paper
16.3 x 13.3 cm (6 7/16 x 5 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: Brown ink, right center: D. Baillij. fecit./Ao 1621
J. van der Marck. [Unidentified Auction House, Amsterdam, November 19, 1773, lot. 1844]. Jhr. J. van Goll van Franckenstein, Amsterdam (L. 2987). [Unidentified Auction House, Amsterdam, July 1, 1883, Kunstboek AA26]. N. Beets, Amsterdam. Franz Koenigs, Haarlem. Mrs. A. K. M. Boerlage-Koenigs. [Sotheby's, London, 26 June 1969, lot 79]; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1969.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston, Massachusetts
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Josua de Bruyn, "David Bailly", Oud Holland (1951), vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 148-63, p. 158

Kurt Bauch, Der Frühe Rembrandt und seine Zeit, Gebr. Mann (Berlin, Germany, 1960), p. 40, fig. 25

Emil Karel Josef Reznicek, Die Zeichnungen von Hendrick Goltzius, Haentjens Dekker & Gumbert (Utrecht, The Netherlands, 1961), vol. 1, p. 183, note 103

H. van Hall, Portretten van nederlandse beeldende kunstenaars, Swets en Zeitlinger (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1963), p. 258, no. 1709-2

Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, "De Lakenhal", exh. cat., Het Museum (Leiden, 1976), p. 53, repr.

Sebastien A. C. Dudok van Heel and J. H. Giskes, "Noord-Nederlandsche Pre-Rembrandtisten en Zuid-nederlandse Muziekinstrument...", Jaarboek Amsteldamum (1982), vol. 76, p. 13 ff., p. 13, repr.

George Abrams, "Collectors and Collecting", Drawings Defined, ed. Walter Strauss, Abaris Books (New York, 1987), pp. 415-429, p. 416, fig. 1

William W. Robinson, Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., H. O. Zimman, Inc. (Lynn, MA, 1991), cat. no. 16, pp. 50-51, repr.

Michiel C. Plomp, The Dutch drawings in the Teylers Museum, Snoeck Ducaju and Davaco (Ghent and Doornspijk, 1997), sub cat. no. 23

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. 42, repr.

Exhibition History

Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 02/23/1991 - 04/18/1991; Albertina Gallery, Vienna, 05/16/1991 - 06/30/1991; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 01/22/1992 - 04/22/1992; Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/10/1992 - 12/06/1992

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