Elsje Christiaens, an 18-year old woman from Jutland was executed in May 1, 1664, just two weeks after her arrival in Amsterdam in April of that year. In a violent argument over unpaide rent, Elsje hit her landlady over the head with an ax and knocked her down the cellar stairs. She was exposed to viewers on the gibbet in the gallows field outside of Amsterdam along with the ax, the instrument of her crime. With intense scrutiny, Rembrandt drew her lifeless body in quick angular lines. Remarkably, the Met possesses the two known drawings by Rembrandt of this event.
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Title:Elsje Christiaens Hanging on a Gibbet
Artist:Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)
Medium:Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash
Dimensions:6 3/4 x 3 9/16 in. (17.1 x 9.1 cm)
Credit Line:H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Inscription: Inscribed in pen at lower left (much faded) the initials: WE (Lugt 2617).
Marking: Verso: the collector's mark of Francis Seymour Haden (Lugt 1227).
Sir Thomas Lawrence (British); William Esdaile (British); Jacob de Vos (Dutch)A Malefactor on a gibet said to have come from the collection of Jacob de Vos of Amsterdam. Some Rembrandt drawings belonging to him were sold in Amsterdam in 1883, but this one is not listed.; Sir Francis Seymour Haden (British); his sale, Sotheby's, London, June 15–19, 1891, lot 577 (£25 to Durand-Ruel); Galerie Durand-Ruel; H. O. Havemeyer
Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums. "Rembrandt Drawings from American Collections," March 15, 1960–April 16, 1960.
Morgan Library & Museum. "Rembrandt Drawings from American Collections," April 27, 1960–May 29, 1960.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 10–June 9, 1985.
National Gallery of Scotland. "Rembrandt's Women," June 8, 2001–September 2, 2001.
Royal Academy of Arts. "Rembrandt's Women," September 22, 2001–December 16, 2001.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt and His Circle: Drawings and Prints, A Selection in Honor of the Artist's 400th Birthday," July 10–October 15, 2006.
Amsterdam Museum. "The Golden Age: Amsterdam, the Republic and the World," December 14, 2012–March 18, 2013.
National Gallery, London. "Rembrandt: The Finest Years," October 15, 2014–January 18, 2015.
Rijksmuseum. "Rembrandt: The Final Years," February 12, 2015–May 17, 2015.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selections from the Department of Drawings and Prints: Rembrandt," April 30–July 28, 2019.
William Reinhold Valentiner "Rembrandt drawings in the Havemeyer Collection." in Metropolitan Museum Studies. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 3, New York, 1930-1931, fig. no. 10, p. 142, ill.
William M. Ivins Jr. The Unseen Rembrandt. 1942, fig. no. 39, 40, ill.
Walter Mehring European Drawings from the Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Portfolio of Collotype Reproductions [Vol. 1: Italian Drawings; Vol. 2: Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings; Vol. 3: "New Series": Italian, Flemish, Dutch, German, Spanish, French, and British drawings]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 3 vols., New York, 1942–44, cat. no. 6 (vol.2), fig. no. 6, ill.
Otto Benesch The Drawings of Rembrandt: [a critical and chronological catalogue]. vols. 1-6, London, 1954-1957, cat. no. 1105, fig. no. 1324, p. 313, ill.
Otto Benesch (enlarged and edited by Eva Benesch) The Drawings of Rembrandt. Complete Edition in Six Volumes. vol. 2, London, 1973, vol V, fig. no. 1397, pp. 299-300, ill.
Svetlana Alpers "Rembrandt, un maitre dans son atelier." in Annales, Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations. January -February 1987, footnote 16, fig. no. 5, pp. 14, 25, ill.
Peter Schatborn, Erik Hinterding Rembrandt: The Complete Drawings and Etchings. Taschen, Cologne, 2019, cat. no. D457, p. 280, ill.
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