(Gorinchem 1564 - Utrecht 1651)
Studies of the Heads of an Old Man and a Young Boy [recto]; Study of Drapery [verso]
Traces of framing lines in brown ink.
Numbered 59 at the upper right, and numbered 61 on the verso.
162 x 161 mm. (6 3/8 x 6 3/8 in.)
This double-sided drawing was almost certainly part of a large group of 136 studies - mostly figure studies, and almost all drawn in red chalk - that were at one time in the collection of the French landscape painter André Giroux (1801-1879).
Bloemaert was a gifted and prolific draughtsman, praised as such by his biographer Karel van Mander, who noted that the artist ‘has a clever way of drawing with a pen, and, by adding small amounts of watercolour, he produces unusual effects’. He produced numerous studies for paintings and engravings - some six hundred prints after his designs are known - as well as several landscape drawings and many sheets of studies of heads, hands and arms. Some of the latter were reproduced as engravings by his son Frederik and published in the 1650s as the Konstryk Tekenboek, a sort of model-book for students. The Tekenboek proved very popular and was reprinted several times, serving to perpetuate Bloemaert’s influence on later generations of artists. (Indeed, the 18th century French artist François Boucher published a series of etchings after Bloemaert’s figure studies, known as the Livre d’etude d’après les desseins originaux de Blomart, which appeared in Paris in 1735.) The bulk of Bloemaert’s enormous corpus of drawings, numbering around 1,700 sheets, appear to have been retained by his descendants for over fifty years, and it is not until the first half of the 18th century that they began to be sold and dispersed.
Probably the posthumous vente Giroux, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 18-19 April 1904, as part of lot 175 (‘Etudes de personnages, de paysages et d’animaux. Cent trente-six dessins, la plupart exécutés à la sanguine, un certain nombre avec d’autres croquis au verso’)
Thence by descent in the Verdé-Delisle family until 2012.