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Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., “Anonymous Artist, Rembrandt van Rijn, Carel Fabritius/A Girl with a Broom/probably begun 1646/1648 and completed 1651,” Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century, NGA Online Editions, (accessed September 24, 2017).


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As she leans over the gate of a wooden fence a young girl stares directly at the viewer. In her left hand is a broom. The fence appears to surround a well, whose dark, round form is visible in the foreground. The well is flanked by a large overturned bucket on the right and a dark object, perhaps a trough, on the left. While the girl’s form is lit strongly from the left, the dark background and even the area around the well remain relatively undefined and obscured in shadow.[1]

A Girl with a Broom, in large part because of the appealing features of the young girl and the genre-like character of the subject, has long been admired as one of Rembrandt’s most sensitive depictions of figures from his immediate environs. This attractive model has been identified repeatedly as a young servant girl in Rembrandt’s household, but her identity remains unknown.[2] Geertje Dirckx could not have served as the model; having been born around 1610, she would have been too old to be this sitter, who is probably about twelve to fifteen years old. Hendrickje Stoffels, who was born in 1626, and who entered Rembrandt’s household around 1647, would also have been too old. The model who posed for Girl with a Broom probably also posed for Girl at the Window, 1645 [fig. 1]. The girls have comparable hairstyles; they have relatively broad faces with widely separated eyes and low, flat eyebrows; their noses, the tips of which have a slightly bulbous appearance, are similar; and finally, their broadly formed lips are virtually identical.[3]

Whether this work was meant as a portrait or as a genre scene has been a matter of some discussion. Should it have been possible to identify the girl, the painting would almost certainly be classified as a portrait because of the frontal pose and careful depiction of the features.[4] Nevertheless, the setting and accoutrements give the painting the character of a genre scene, albeit one that is not fully explained to the viewer. Why, for example, is the girl holding the broom while leaning over the wall surrounding the well, and does the prominently placed bucket have any iconographic significance?[5]

Recent scholars have doubted the attribution to Rembrandt and some have even speculated that the painting is eighteenth century in origin.[6] Because A Girl with a Broom has a distinguished provenance that reaches back to 1678, when it is almost certainly listed in the inventory of the collection of an acquaintance of Rembrandt’s, Herman Becker, the latter suggestion is clearly unacceptable. Even though the painting was attributed to Rembrandt when it was in Becker’s collection, its style differs in enough fundamental ways from that of Rembrandt’s authentic paintings to warrant the doubts mentioned in the literature.

The primary reason that A Girl with a Broom has been associated with eighteenth-century images is its physical appearance. The surface is deformed in areas, particularly in the face and hands, by pronounced Wrinkling of the paint similar to that found in certain English paintings of the eighteenth century [fig. 2].[7] This effect had, until the painting’s conservation treatment in 1991–1992, been exacerbated by the thick layers of pigmented varnish. Technical analysis undertaken at the time of the treatment indicated that the wrinkling in the surface resulted from the interference of an underlying paint layer that had not sufficiently dried. The X-radiographs [see X-radiography] reveals that the girl’s face was painted over an earlier head looking upward to the right [fig. 3]. To judge from the X-radiograph, the lead white modeling around the nose and cheek of the underlying head is quite dense. Little or no wrinkling appears on the surface image covering these areas of the underlying image. The wrinkling on the surface is most pronounced where it overlaps transparent areas of the underlying images, such as eye sockets. It thus appears that these shaded areas were modeled in dark, medium-rich glazes that had not yet dried at the time the top layers were applied.[8]

Although the existence of an earlier form beneath the girl’s head is fairly easy to distinguish in the X-radiographs, evidence of an underlying layer is more difficult to discern for the rest of the body. Nevertheless, an earlier shape for the blouse, blocked in with paints with little density, can be distinguished in various places.[9] The most obvious of these is along the outer contour of the girl’s right sleeve. An earlier layer, probably the same, can also be made out under the handle of the broom both in the X-radiographs and with the naked eye. Also visible through the brown color of the broom handle is the full extent of the girl’s thumb.[10] Since the girl’s hands have surface distortions much as those found in the head, underlying paint layers here must have had paint characteristics similar to those in the shaded portions of the earlier head.

Whatever the explanation for the unusual nature of the paint in the flesh areas, neither technical nor visual evidence provides an argument for removing A Girl with a Broom from the immediate orbit of Rembrandt.[11] Not only is the image appealing in subject matter, the modeling of the features is sensitively rendered, and the folds in the girl’s white blouse are executed with great bravura.

Notwithstanding the inherent qualities of A Girl with a Broom, a close comparison of it with two comparable paintings by Rembrandt—Girl at a Window, 1645, in Dulwich [fig. 1] and Servant Girl at a Window, 1651, in Stockholm [fig. 4]—points out differences that clearly call into question the attribution to Rembrandt. The centrally placed figure remains isolated in the composition and does not activate the surrounding space as do the girls in the Dulwich and Stockholm paintings. Specifically, in comparison to the Dulwich painting, the modeling of the blouse in A Girl with a Broom is much freer, even in the folds of her right sleeve that are similar in character. Whereas in Girl at a Window Rembrandt created the illusion that the cloth actually rises and turns over upon itself, the folds in A Girl with a Broom have been formed with distinctive brushstrokes highlighting the uppermost ridges of the fabric. Nothing in the Dulwich painting is comparable to the extremely expressive brushwork in the left sleeve, where chiaroscuro effects are achieved by highlighting illuminated folds with slashing strokes of white impasto. Finally, while the blouse is more freely rendered here, the girl’s features are not modeled with the same degree of plasticity as they are in the Dulwich painting. There, Rembrandt boldly modeled the eyes, nose, and mouth with nuanced strokes that clearly convey the structure of the girl’s head. In the subject's face in A Girl with a Broom, as well as in her blouse, paint is more at the service of light than of structure. Accents effectively highlight the hair, forehead, nose, and upper lip, but they are not used to create underlying form. The difference in approach is most distinctly seen in the area of the right eye, where a general halftone shadow does little to suggest three-dimensional character. Instead, the eye’s structure, particularly the upper eyelid, is created with painted lines.

Significant stylistic differences also exist between A Girl with a Broom and Rembrandt’s Servant Girl at a Window [fig. 4], even though the two works are dated the same year. The young woman represented in this latter painting is possibly, although not necessarily, the same; the pose, however, like that of the girl in the Dulwich painting, appears more natural and organic than in the Washington painting, where the girl’s head seems too large for her body. The subject's face in the Stockholm Servant Girl is more freely brushed than that in the Washington painting and modeling is achieved with quick and certain strokes. Accents of light help enliven her form, particularly around the eyes, in a way that is absent in A Girl with a Broom. The blouse, red jacket, and right hand of the servant girl in the Stockholm painting are also modeled with broad strokes that are quite consistent throughout and help create the painting’s harmonious effect. In the Washington painting, on the other hand, while the brushwork of the sleeves is bold and vigorous, that of the face and hands is relatively restrained, and that used to paint the broom is comparatively timid.

The contrasts in manner of execution between A Girl with a Broom and both of these related paintings are so intrinsic to an artistic approach that it seems improbable that A Girl with a Broom was executed by the same hand. The differences between the Washington and Dulwich paintings are such that it does not seem possible to account for them by differences of date, even if the Dulwich painting were executed in 1645 and the Gallery’s painting in 1651. It is even more improbable that Rembrandt would have created such different images as the Washington and Stockholm paintings in the same year. The signature and date of A Girl with a Broom, moreover, are certainly suspect. Although there is no evidence to suggest that they have been added at a later date, they are written in an uncharacteristic form, placed, as they are, around the circular inner edge of the well.[12] Should there have been no date inscribed on the painting, the similarity in the age, hairstyle, and general appearance of the girl in the Washington and Dulwich paintings would have called for a projected date for A Girl with a Broom of 1646/1648, only a few years after the Dulwich Girl.[13] One possible explanation for the discrepancies of date and style, given the existence of an earlier image, is that the painting was begun in the late 1640s and only finished in 1651. This work, thus, may be one other example of a painting executed over an extended period of time (see, among the Rembrandt paintings in the Gallery’s collection: Saskia van Uylenburgh, the Wife of the Artist, The Apostle Paul, and The Descent from the Cross.

Few specifics are known about the nature of Rembrandt’s workshop in the late 1640s and early 1650s. Samuel van Hoogstraten (1627–1678), in his Inleyding tot de Hooge Schoole der Schilderkonst (Rotterdam, 1678), indicates that he was active in the master’s workshop before he returned to his native city of Dordrecht in April 1648. The fellow students he mentions were Carel Fabritius (Dutch, c. 1622 - 1654) and Abraham Furnerius (c. 1628–1654). Among other artists working with Rembrandt in the late 1640s were Karel van der Pluym (1625–1672), Constantijn van Renesse (Dutch, 1626 - 1680), and Nicolaes Maes (Dutch, 1634 - 1693). It seems probable that Willem Drost (Dutch, active c. 1650 - active 1655) and Abraham van Dijck (1635/1636–1672) also became Rembrandt pupils around 1650, although nothing certain is known about their relationship to Rembrandt. Indeed, many questions remain about paintings from Rembrandt’s workshop around 1650 (see, for example, Portrait of Rembrandt) because it is extremely difficult to establish the independent identities of Rembrandt’s pupils during these years. Nothing in the oeuvres of artists known or thought to have been working with Rembrandt in the early 1650s can be effectively compared either thematically or stylistically to this work. A more probable date, in terms of the manner of execution, appears to be the late 1640s.

Although no documentary proof has survived that clarifies the different roles of student and assistant in Rembrandt’s workshop during the 1640s, the more advanced of his students, for example Hoogstraten and Fabritius, would have worked as assistants in the workshop after they finished their apprenticeship.[14] In all likelihood they continued to help execute paintings that would be sold under Rembrandt’s name, even after they had begun working independently and signing their own works.[15] Paintings created for Rembrandt’s workshop, to judge from those that have recently been attributed to these artists, would often be free adaptations of Rembrandt’s own compositions. These works, once accepted by the master as worthy of his production, would be inscribed with his signature and the date.

A Girl with a Broom fits into this scenario. It is one of a number of paintings loosely derived from Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window in Dulwich. Hoogstraten was particularly fond of this compositional type, if one is to judge from his late 1640s Young Man in a Hat, at a Half-Door in the Hermitage.[16] The quality of this work, however, is comparatively mediocre, and it is impossible to reconcile the simplistic handling of paint seen here with that found in A Girl with a Broom. A much finer painting of a comparable type that has been attributed to Hoogstraten, Young Woman at an Open Half-Door, signed and dated Rembrandt 1645 [fig. 5], is also executed in a manner distinctively different from that of A Girl with a Broom.[17] As is evident in comparisons of the hands ([fig. 6] and [fig. 7]), the forms in the Chicago painting are executed in a far crisper manner, with flatter planes of color and fewer nuances of shading. Differences in character between the white sleeves of the girl in the Washington painting and the white shirt of the girl in the Chicago painting also point out that the Gallery's A Girl with a Broom was executed by an artistic personality that favored a freer, more painterly approach.

The artist in Rembrandt’s circle during this period who was most capable of both the nuanced modeling of the face and hands and the rough bravura brushwork found in the sleeves was Carel Fabritius, but specific comparisons with other works by him are difficult to make because few paintings can be firmly attributed to him during the mid-1640s. Thus only a tentative attribution to him is suggested.[18] One of the few comparisons to Fabritius’ work that can be made is to his evocative Self-Portrait, c. 1645–1648 [fig. 8]. Although the modeling of the face of the girl in A Girl with a Broom is more nuanced than that of the Self-Portrait, where modeling is achieved with vigorously applied broken impastos, these differences may well relate to different artistic intents. The boldly uncompromising application of paint in the Self-Portrait was clearly intended to help characterize the artist’s personality, whereas the careful modeling in the girl’s face was appropriate to her sex and age. The character of the brushwork in the faces of these two paintings, indeed, is far more comparable than one might initially suspect. In both instances paint is densely applied with broad, interlocking brushstrokes that model facets or planes of the face. Similarly placed accents, moreover, help define the cheekbone and nose. A specific point of comparison is in the structure of the eyes: in each instance the upper portions of the relatively large, flat, almond-shaped eyes are defined by a black line rather than by modulations in tone. This particular manner of articulating eyes is not found in paintings by other artists in Rembrandt’s circle.

One other painting can be brought into this discussion, a Portrait of a Woman attributed to Fabritius by the Rembrandt Research Project (RRP).[19] Although this painting is signed and dated “Rembrandt.f/1647,” the RRP has concluded that it was executed by Fabritius around 1642. Whether or not such a redating is justified, and I would maintain that the date on the painting reflects the period of its execution, the attribution of this portrait to Fabritius is convincing. The differences in style between the carefully modeled head of this woman and Fabritius’ more broadly and roughly executed Rotterdam Self-Portrait, however, demonstrate the range of techniques Fabritius was capable of during these years. The girl's head in A Girl with a Broom falls somewhere between these two works. The hands of the woman in Fabritius' Portrait and those of the subject in A Girl with a Broom also show marked similarities. In both instances they are modeled with interlocking planes of color that are generally brushed across the forms, particularly the fingers, rather than along their length.[20]

The hypothesis that A Girl with a Broom could have been created during the mid-to-late 1640s by Fabritius in response to Rembrandt’s Girl at a Window, however, needs to remain extremely tentative because of the 1651 date inscribed on the painting. Fabritius almost certainly would not have added the signature and date because he had moved to Delft in 1650. It is possible, however, that the image was reworked and brought to completion by another artist at this date. The basis for this hypothesis is the stylistic discrepancy that exists between the execution of the broom, the bucket, and even the fence surrounding the well, and that of the figure. Neither the broom nor the bucket is executed with the same surety as the figure itself. The tentative brushstrokes do not model the forms with bold accents comparable to those found on the girl’s blouse. The relationships of scale between the girl and these objects are also peculiarly discordant.

Technical evidence seems to support the hypothesis that the broom may have been worked up after the initial blocking in of the figure had occurred. As has been mentioned, an earlier form of the blouse and the girl’s left thumb were painted under the broomstick. Whether or not the broom was part of the original concept is of some debate. In the X-radiographs (see [fig. 3]) there is the appearance of a reserve left for the broom. The area of little density within the costume, however, would not have been blocked in with dense paints since it conforms to the position of her red shoulder strap. To the right of the broom this red is painted over a dark layer, while to the left of the broom the red is painted over the white shirt, which may be an indication that it was applied as a result of a design change. Immediately above the shoulder is a dark area in the X-radiographs that seems to conform to the shape of a portion of the broomstick. Whether this diagonal shape is a reserve is also difficult to determine, in part because it abuts another dark area adjacent to the girl’s head that has no logical relationship to the final image.[21] In any event, the definition of the “reserve” that seems to correspond to the shape of the broom has been enhanced on the left by the paints containing lead white that were used at the last stage of execution to silhouette the figure against the dark background (and to cover Pentimenti in the girl’s shirt).

One bit of technical evidence that links the signature and date, the broom, and the bucket concerns their distinctive reddish orange accents, which have a vermilion component. Similar accents also appear on the girl’s curls and on her shoulder to the left of the broom, indicating that these other areas of the painting may have been finalized at this time as well.[22] Just why A Girl with a Broom would have been worked on at two different stages is not known, although it may well be that the painting was not originally brought to completion because distortions in the surface from the wrinkling paint had quickly developed.

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.

April 24, 2014


lower left on rim of well: Rembrandt f. 1651



Almost certainly Herman Becker [c. 1617-1678], Amsterdam.[1] Pierre Crozat [1665-1740], Paris, before 1740; by inheritance to his nephews, first to Louis-François Crozat, marquis du Châtel [1691-1750], Paris, and then [on Louis-François' death without a male heir] to Louis-Antoine Crozat, baron de Thiers [1699-1770], Paris; the latter's heirs; purchased 1772, through Denis Diderot [1713-1784] as an intermediary, by Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg; sold February 1931, as a painting by Rembrandt, through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 1 May 1937 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History
Rembrandt in the National Gallery of Art [Commemorating the Tercentenary of the Artist's Death], National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1969, no. 11, repro., as by Rembrandt.
Rembrandt Och Hans Tid [Rembrandt and His Age], Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 1992-1993, no. 83, as by Carel Fabritius and Rembrandt Workshop.
La Curne de Sainte-Palaye, Jean-Baptiste de. Catalogue des tableaux du cabinet de M. Crozat, baron de Thiers. Paris, 1755: 17.
Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.] "Catalogue raisonné des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Galeries, Sallons et Cabinets du Palais Impérial de S. Pétersbourg, commencé en 1773 et continué jusqu’en 1785.” 3 vols. Manuscript, Fund 1, Opis’ VI-A, delo 85, Hermitage Archives, Saint Petersburg,1773-1783 (vols. 1-2), 1785 (vol. 3): no. 1007, as La balayeuse.
Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.]. Catalogue des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Cabinets du Palais Impérial à Saint-Pétersbourg. Based on the 1773 manuscript catalogue. Saint Petersburg, 1774: no. 1007, as La balayeuse.
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 7(1836):74, no. 177.
Imperial Hermitage Museum. Livret de la Galérie Impériale de l'Ermitage de Saint Petersbourg. Saint Petersburg, 1838: 126, no. 18.
Köhne, Baron Bernhard de. Ermitage Impérial, Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. Saint Petersburg, 1863: 169, no. 826.
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Die Gemäldesammlung in der kaiserlichen Ermitage zu St. Petersburg nebst Bemerkungen über andere dortige Kunstsammlungen. Munich, 1864: 184, no. 826.
Vosmaer, Carel. Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn, sa vie et ses oeuvres. 2nd ed. The Hague, 1877: 582.
Köhne, Baron Bernhard de. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. 3 vols. 2nd ed. Saint Petersburg, 1870: 2:141, no. 826.
Massaloff, Nicolas. Les Rembrandt de l’Ermitage Impérial de Saint-Pétersbourg. Leipzig, 1872: 36.
Vosmaer, Carel. Rembrandt Harmens van Rijn: sa vie et ses oeuvres. 2nd ed. The Hague, 1877: 582.
Mollett, John W. Rembrandt. Illustrated biographies of the great artists. London, 1879: 94.
Bode, Wilhelm von. Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei. Braunschweig, 1883: 504, 603, no. 348.
Dutuit, Eugène. Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt: catalogue historique et descriptif; supplément à l'Oeuvre complet de Rembrandt. Paris, 1885: 39, 64, 69, no. 410.
Wurzbach, Alfred von. Rembrandtgalerie. Stuttgart, 1886: no. 415.
Michel, Émile. Rembrandt: Sa vie, son oeuvre et son temps. Paris, 1893: 392-393, repro.
Michel, Émile. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, and His Time. 2 vols. Translated by Florence Simmonds. New York, 1894: 2:75-76, repro., 246.
Somov, Andrei Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. 2 vols. 3rd ed. Saint Petersburg, 1895: 2:292-293, no. 826.
Bode, Wilhelm von, and Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. 8 vols. Translated by Florence Simmonds. Paris, 1897-1906: 5:34, 206, no. 598, repro.
Bell, Malcolm. Rembrandt van Rijn and His Work. London, 1899: 80, 180, no. 826.
Somov, Andrei Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. 2 vols. 4th ed. Saint Petersburg, 1901: 2:329, no. 826.
Neumann, Carl. Rembrandt. Berlin, 1902: 358, fig. 83.
Bryan, Michael. Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, biographical and critical. 5 vols. Revised and expanded by George C. Williamson. New York and London, 1903-1905: 4(1904):239.
Rosenberg, Adolf. Rembrandt: des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 2. Stuttgart, 1904: 178, repro.
Michel, Émile. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: A Memorial of His Tercentenary. New York, 1906: 93.
Rosenberg, Adolf. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 2. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906: repro. 273, 401.
Wurzbach, Alfred von. Niederlandisches Kunstler-Lexikon. 3 vols. Vienna, 1906-1911: 2(1910):410.
Bell, Malcolm. Rembrandt van Rijn. The great masters in painting and sculpture. London, 1907: 75, 151.
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 6(1916):177, no. 299.
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 10 vols. Esslingen and Paris, 1907-1928: 6(1915):151, no. 209.
Rosenberg, Adolf. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 2. 3rd ed. Stuttgart and Berlin, 1908: repro. 325, 560.
Dacier, Emile. Catalogues de Ventes et Livrets de Salons. 7 vols. Paris, 1755: 1:unpaginated, no. 17.
Rosenberg, Adolf. Rembrandt: Des Meisters Gemälde. Edited by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 2. Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1909: repro. 325, 560.
Wrangell, Baron Nicolas. Les Chefs-d’Oeuvre de la Galérie de Tableaux de l’Ermitage Impérial à St. Pétersbourg. London, 1909: repro. 130.
Rosenberg, Adolf. The Work of Rembrandt, reproduced in over five hundred illustrations. Classics in Art 2. 2nd ed. New York, 1913: repro. 325.
Errera, Isabelle. Répertoire des peintures datées. 2 vols. Bruxelles and Paris, 1920-1921: 267.
Neumann, Carl. Rembrandt. 2 vols. Revised ed. Munich, 1922: 2:358, fig. 100.
Meldrum, David S. Rembrandt’s Painting, with an Essay on His Life and Work. New York, 1923: 197, pl. 285.
Weiner, Peter Paul von. Meisterwerke der Gemäldesammlung in der Eremitage zu Petrograd. Revised ed. Munich, 1923: 140, repro.
Conway, William Martin. Art Treasures of the Soviet Union. London, 1925: 162.
Bredius, Abraham. Rembrandt Gemälde, 630 Abbildungen. Vienna, 1935: no. 378, repro.
Bredius, Abraham. Rembrandt Schilderijen, 630 Afbeeldingen. Utrecht, 1935: no. 378. repro.
Bredius, Abraham. The Paintings of Rembrandt. New York, 1936: no. 378, repro.
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: 39.
National Gallery of Art. Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1941: 164-165, no. 74.
Bredius, Abraham. The Paintings of Rembrandt. 2 vols. Translated by John Byam Shaw. Oxford, 1942: 1:21, no. 378; 2:repro.
National Gallery of Art. Book of illustrations. 2nd ed. Washington, 1942: no. 74, repro. 30, 240, as by Rembrandt van Ryn.
Benesch, Otto. "The Rembrandt Paintings in the National Gallery of Art." The Art Quarterly 6, no. 1 (Winter 1943): 24 fig. 6, 26-27.
Rosenberg, Jakob. Rembrandt. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA, 1948: 1:52-53; 2:fig. 80.
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 82, repro., as by Rembrandt van Ryn.
King, Marian. Portfolio Number 3. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: no. 5, color repro.
Shapley, Fern Rusk. Comparisons in art: A Companion to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. London, 1957: pl. 113, as by Rembrandt.
Baird, Thomas P. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art 7. Washington, 1960: 42, color repro. on cover, as by Rembrandt van Ryn.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Treasures from the National Gallery of Art, New York, 1962: 96, color repro., as by Rembrandt.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 313, repro., as by Rembrandt van Rijn.
Rosenberg, Jakob. Rembrandt: Life and Work. Revised ed. Greenwich, Connecticut, 1964: 92, 93, 95, fig. 80.
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 109, as by Rembrandt van Ryn.
Bauch, Kurt. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966: 15, no. 270, repro.
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1: 226, color repro., as by Rembrandt.
Gerson, Horst. Rembrandt Paintings. Amsterdam, 1968: 499, no. 284, fig. 284, repro. 368.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 98, no. 74, repro.
Stuffmann, Margret. "Les tableaux de la collection de Pierre Crozat." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 72 (July-September 1968): 102, no. 374, repro.
Bredius, Abraham. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. Revised by Horst Gerson. 3rd ed. London, 1969: repro. 295, 580, no. 378.
National Gallery of Art. Rembrandt in the National Gallery of Art: Commemorating the tercentenary of the artist's death. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1969: 7, 21, no. 11, repro.
Benesch, Otto. Otto Benesch Collected Writings. 2 vols. Edited by Eva Benesch. London and New York, 1970: 1:143, fig. 113.
La Curne de Sainte-Palaye, Jean-Baptiste de. Catalogue des Tableaux du Cabinet de Crozat, Baron de Thiers. Reprint of the 1755 ed. Geneva, 1972: 17.
Roberts, Keith. "Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions: London." The Burlington Magazine 114, no. 830 (May 1972): 353.
Koslow, Susan. "Frans Hals’s Fisherboys: Exemplars of Idleness." The Art Bulletin 57 (September 1975): 429, 431, fig. 29.
National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 284, no. 74, repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 273, no. 361, color repro.
Sonnenburg, Hubertus von. "Maltechnische Gesichtspunkte zur Rembrandtforschung." Maltechnik-Restauro 82 (1976): 12-13, repro.
Schwartz, Gary. Rembrandt: Zijn leven, zijn schilderijen. Maarssen, 1984: 244, no. 270, repro.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 273, no. 355, color repro., as by Rembrandt van Ryn.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 329, repro.
Schwartz, Gary. Rembrandt: His Life, His Paintings. New York, 1985: 244, no. 270, repro.
Tümpel, Christian. Rembrandt. Translated by Jacques and Jean Duvernet, Léon Karlson, and Patrick Grilli. Paris, 1986: repro. 263, 426, A59.
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 91.
Cavalli-Björkman, Görel. Rembrandt och hans tid: människan i centrum = Rembrandt and his age: focus on man. Exh. cat. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, 1992: 248-255, no. 83, color repro.
Liedtke, Walter A. "Stockholm: Rembrandt and His Age. Review of the exhibition 'Rembrandt och Hans Tid'." The Burlington Magazine 124 (December 1992): 829-830, repro.
Sumner, Anne. "Influence and Interpretation: The legacy of Rembrandt's 'Girl at a window'." Apollo: The international magazine of arts 372 (February 1993): 122 n. 1.
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "A Girl with a Broom: A Problem of Attribution." In Rembrandt and His Pupils. Edited by Görel Cavalli-Björkman. Stockholm, 1993: 142-155, repro.
Liedtke, Walter A. Rembrandt/not Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: aspects of connoisseurship. Vol. 2, Paintings, drawings, and prints: art-historical perspectives. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1995: 28, fig. 37, as attributed to Samuel van Hoogstraten.
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 287-296, color repro. 289.
Neverov, Oleg, and Mikhail Piotrovsky. The Hermitage: Essays on the History of the Collection, Saint Petersburg, 1997: 168, repro.
Schama, Simon. Rembrandt's Eyes. New York, 1999: 524, repro.
Il'in, Nikolas, and Natalia Semënova. Prodannye sokrovishcha Rossii [Sold Treasures of Russia]. Moscow, 2000: 144-145, repro.
Wright, Christopher. Rembrandt. Collection Les Phares 10. Translated by Paul Alexandre. Paris, 2000: 276, fig. 276, repro.
Stichting Foundation Rembrandt Research Project. A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings. Vol. 4: The Self-Portraits. Edited by Ernst van de Wetering. Dordrecht, 2005: 242.
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. "A Museum Curator’s Perspective." IFAR Journal: International Foundation of Art Research 8, no. 3-4 (2006): 96, repro.
Odom, Anne, and Wendy R. Salmond, eds. Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938. Washington, D.C., 2009: 90, 103 n. 46, 135 n. 62.
Fiedler, Susanne, and Torsten Knuth. "Vexierbilder einer Biographie: Dr. Heinz Mansfeld (1899-1959)." Mecklenburgische Jahrbücher 126 (2011):307.
Jaques, Susan. The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia. New York, 2016: 397.
Wecker, Menachem. "Famed Arts Patron Catherine the Great had Many Lovers, But She was a Prude." Washington Post 139, no. 120 (April 3, 2016): E2, repro.
Technical Summary

The original support is a fine, tightly woven, plain-weave fabric, lined with the tacking margins removed. Lining has exaggerated the canvas texture in the paint layer. Cusping on all edges indicates that the dimensions have not been reduced. There are long vertical tears in the fence in the lower left quadrant and at the bottom center to the right of the broom.

The double ground consists of a quartz-type brown lower layer and a thick, translucent brown upper layer.[1] The upper ground is not employed as a mid-tone compositionally. Paint in the figure was applied thickly in broad, short strokes with vigorous brushwork and low impasto, while thin washes define the background. At least two distinct design layers of paint are apparent, with variations in handling. Underneath the present composition, as seen in the X-radiographs and with raking-light examination, is a head, placed directly under the girl’s head, looking upward. The X-radiographs also show minor changes in the girl’s sleeves. Her proper left thumb is visible in the X-radiographs under the broom handle. (For a further discussion of these changes see the entry.)

The upper paint layer was applied within a short time of the first, before the underlying paint had fully dried and without intermediate varnish application. An excess of medium and an improper drying of the paint layers have caused pronounced wrinkling in the upper paint layers, especially in the face and hands.

The paint has suffered abrasion throughout, and many of the glazes in the face have been lost. The painting was treated in 1991–1992 to remove discolored varnish and inpainting.


[1] The ground and paint were analyzed by the NGA Scientific Research department using polarized light microscopy, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, gas chromatography, cross-sections, and scanning electron microscopy in conjunction with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (see reports dated March 24, 1992, and April 27, 1992, in NGA Conservation department files). The ground and paint were further analyzed by Karin Groen using cross-sections and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (see letter dated December 4, 1992, in NGA Conservation department files, and Karin Groen, "Grounds in Rembrandt’s Workshop and in Paintings by His Contemporaries," in Stichting Foundation Rembrandt Research Project, A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, vol. 4, Self-Portraits, ed. Ernst van de Wetering [Dordrecht, 2005], 668–669). Groen found the ground to contain quartz.

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style of hair
stylistic and formal differentiation of art
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historical person +Hendrickje Stoffels