Two Studies of the Head of an Old Man


The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In his bold, vigorous, and economical style, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn examined this man's pensive face from two directions. He presented the eyes as dark caverns, with shadows alone defining the ear, cleverly allowing the blank paper to do the rest. Broad pen strokes develop areas such as the neck, shoulder, and back of the head.

Rembrandt often preferred to draw and paint older figures, subjects whose greater life experiences showed in their faces. As a French scholar wrote in 1909, "He is there when we are old, when we look fixedly at the side of the night that comes."

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  • Title: Two Studies of the Head of an Old Man
  • Creator: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
  • Date: 1626
  • Physical Dimensions: 9 x 14.9 cm (3 9/16 x 5 7/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Pen and brown ink, torn down the center and rejoined
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 83.GA.264
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Dutch
  • Classification: Drawings