Beggar Walking on a Crutch

Andries Both Dutch

Not on view

Tafeletten, small sheets of prepared paper or vellum on which an artist would draw in metalpoint, were often employed in the 17th century in Holland. These sheets would allow the artist to obliterate any unwanted drawings and reuse the surface and by regrounding it. Such drawings do not survive in large numbers today because their surfaces were easily damaged. Scholars speculate that the reason we have no known drawings by artists like Vermeer and Frans Hals is that they drew on tafeletten.

This tafelet drawing by Andries Both is part of a group of six similar surviving works by the artist that may have once composed a small, reusable notebook. One of the sheets is dated 1632. Both, one of the group of Dutch artists active in Rome known as the bamboccianti, was known for his coarse and humorous peasant scenes. Based on the dating of one of the other similar sheets, this drawing probably also pre-dates his travel to Italy begun in 1633.

Beggar Walking on a Crutch, Andries Both (Dutch, Utrecht ca. 1612–1641 Venice), Metalpoint on prepared paper

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