Some of the heads in this unpublished drawing, which does not appear to be directly related to any known painting by Jordaens, reappear in a drawing previously in the Abrams collection (most recently at Christie’s, Amsterdam, 25 November 1992, lot 543). An inscription by Jordaens on that drawing indicates that it was executed in May 1664 ‘in The Hague, in church and elsewhere from memory’ (Inden haege Inde kercke en op andere Plaetsen by memorie; R.-A. d’Hulst, Jordaens drawings, London and New York, 1974, II, no. A401, IV, fig. 422). In technique and quality, however, the drawing comes closer to a head study of the head of a corpulent man of unknown location, which has been dated to the 1640s (ibid., I, no. A185, III, fig. 199). In an œuvre permeated by the caricatural, the caricatures in our drawing, in the tradition of those by Leonardo, are remarkable for being animated by a touch of observed reality.
We are grateful to Brecht Vanoppen of the Centrum Rubenianum for his assistance in cataloguing this drawing.