A Sleeping Woman

In the history of art, Rembrandt van Rijn, a Dutch artist, was one of the greatest painters in the western. He had brilliant techniques in drawing, painting and etching. About 1400 original pieces of work done by Rembrandt have been preserved and catalogued. He was born in 1606 and died in 1669.

One of his 1655 drawings is ‘a woman sleeping’. This type of drawing is an unconventional fine-art print, which was rapidly but skillfully outlined with a brush. He used the white colour of the paper to create her form and the atmosphere around her. Above woman’s head, there is a thin wash that sets off her figure. The wash shows that there is darkness in the corner of the room. The light strokes of brush on the woman’s face and the white part of the drawing demonstrate the calmness of the lady. The dark part in the drawing and the fact that the woman is asleep show that it’s probably at night. The woman’s sleeping posture, the uncovered and exposed legs show that the woman might be sleeping on a couch waiting for the husband to get back home. Rembrandt must have painted the portrait of the lady without her notice.

The style and appearance of the painting is appealing to the human eye as it is entirely drawn with brush. It is believed that the portrait belonged to Rembrandt’s second wife, Hendrickje Stoffels (1626-63), who was the mother of his daughter Cornelia. The portrait is affectionate as it shows Rembrandt’s love and treasure for his wife at that time when they had just got a child.

The fascinating thing about this portrait is it’s uniqueness. Most of his pieces were drawn with pen or chalk, but for this drawing he used a brush and brown wash with white body color.

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