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Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-1693 Amsterdam)
Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-1693 Amsterdam)

Isaac blessing Jacob (recto); Study for the figure of Abraham in the Sacrifice of Isaac (verso)

Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1634-1693 Amsterdam)
Isaac blessing Jacob (recto); Study for the figure of Abraham in the Sacrifice of Isaac (verso)
red chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, red chalk framing lines (recto); brush and brown ink (verso)
4 7/8 x 4 3/8 in. (12.5 x 11 cm.)
Anonymous sale; Bom, Amsterdam, 23 November 1926, lot number unknown, where purchased by I.Q. van Regteren Altena for 18 guilders (Inventory book: '236. t. N. Maes zegening Isaäc').
W.W. Robinson, 'The Sacrifice of Isaac: An Unpublished Painting by Nicolaes Maes', Burlington Magazine, CXXVI, no. 978, September 1984, p. 541, fig. 4.
W. Sumowski, Drawings of the Rembrandt School, VIII, New York, 1984, no. 1767.
J. Giltaij, The Drawings by Rembrandt and his School in the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1988, p. 223, under no. 113.
W.W. Robinson, 'Nicolaes Maes as a Draughtsman', Master Drawings, XXVII, no. 2, Summer 1989, pp. 147, 150 and 161, note 10, fig. 2, and p. 147 (verso).
L. Krempel, Nicolaes Maes, Petersberg, 1999, p. 362, under no. D43.
Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum, Nicolaes Maes, 1934, no. 34 (catalogue author not given).
Leiden, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Rembrandt als Leermeester, 1956, no. 168 (catalogue by J.N. van Wessem).

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Lot Essay

The drawing on the recto, with its characteristically dumpy figures, is a preparatory study for a lost painting of Isaac blessing Jacob, for which there is a first, very free, preparatory study in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam (Sumowski, op. cit., no. 1766; Fig. 1). The figural types are very close to those in The Expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael of 1653 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which must date from much the same period (Robinson 1984, op. cit., 1984, fig. 7). The quick study on the verso, however, is a preparatory drawing for the figure of Abraham in The Sacrifice of Isaac (Private collection; Robinson 1984, op. cit., pl. 1), and is one of a number of related drawings for the same picture. Further studies of the composition are in the Louvre (Robinson 1984, op. cit., figs. 3 and 5) and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Robinson 1984, op. cit., fig. 6). Robinson suggests a date for The Sacrifice of Isaac of 1655-58, and the present drawing must date from the same period, probably around 1655.

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