Three Studies of Women (recto); Four Studies of

The soft, smooth skin of this female model seems to glow from within. From the soft, firm contours to the graceful wisps of hair that frame her head and neck so naturally, Abraham Bloemaert delicately modulated his red chalk line on creamy paper. Subtly and sensitively, he then touched in the white bodycolor that makes her luminous skin seem alive. Bloemaert probably made these studies for general practice; no paintings or prints directly relate to this sheet, though the lower profile image recalls an engraving after one of his designs. Bloemaert probably made the counterproof of the kneeling man on the by dampening an original drawing, then laying a clean damp sheet on top and running it through a press. Seeing the figure in reverse may have brought a fresh viewpoint to his work. The kneeling man bears a general resemblance to the shepherds in Bloemaert's Adoration pictures. The hands sketched next to the man make gestures fitting for such a subject, but no known paintings directly resemble these studies.

Red chalk heightened with white gouache (1620s)

by Abraham Bloemaert (Dutch, 1564-1651)

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