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Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt: Jan van Kessel's Sketchbook


Jan van Kessel
Dutch, 1641 - 1680
Sketchbook, 1659–1660
bound volume with 146 pages
closed: 9.9 × 16 cm (3 7/8 × 6 5/16 in.)
Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris

Jan van Kessel carried a sketchbook on his travels through the Netherlands to record studies of landscapes, trees, ships, buildings, and animals that caught his eye. A selection of 37 drawings from his 146-page sketchbook, made in either black chalk or a combination of chalk and wash, is presented here. Many views depict the western part of the Netherlands, and we can follow Van Kessel’s journey to the ruins of Brederode Castle in the dunes that protect Holland from the North Sea (slide 10), Haarlem (slides 17 and 19), and Deventer, an important commercial center in the eastern part of the country (slides 25, 26, and 27).

The exhibition Drawings for Paintings in the Age of Rembrandt is on view from October 4, 2016, to January 2, 2017.