Nude Woman with a Snake
Who is this woman? She stands nude, squeezing her breast with one hand while holding a large snake behind her with her other hand. The snake, the headdress, and her bared breast suggest that Rembrandt meant to depict , although recent scholars have suggested that the figure has certain aspects of Eve. In fact, Rembrandt used this drawing as the basis for his depiction of Eve in his drawing and subsequent etching of 1638. Rembrandt applied red chalk energetically, describing the swell of the woman's belly with strong horizontal strokes. Vertical shading along her legs conveys her body's taut strength. He also exploited the brilliance and luminosity of the red chalk by applying white underneath it, particularly in the woman's arm and torso. The glowing quality of the red chalk with white underneath and the solid three-dimensionality of form create a sense of energy radiating from her.
Red chalk with white gouache heightening (about 1637)
by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
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