The Sleeping Herdsman

Rembrandt  Harmensz. van Rijn (1606-1669), The Sleeping Herdsman, 1643-44, etching and engraving, Bartsch, Hollstein 189, Hind 207, only state. In excellent condition, with small margins all around, 4 1/8 x 2 1/4, the sheet 4 5/16 x 2 1\2 inches.


Kennedy Galleries (with their stock number, a66794, verso)

Albertina, Vienna (with their duplicate stamp verso, Lugt 5g)

A very good/fine impression, crisply printed with the lines on the forehead of the boy distinct and burr discernible on the shading near the right border to the right of the sleeping shepherd.

Nowell-Eusticke noted that this is a “rare little plate” (RR+); the plate is not in existence and posthumous impressions are not known.

This was one of a small number of prints, each rare and probably just for limited distribution to his friends,  Rembrandt made of salacious subjects (including The Flute Player, A Man Making Water, A Woman Making Water, The Monk in the Cornfield).  Here a young couple engage in sexual play while an old shepherd just to their left covers his eye and (perhaps!) sleeps; a cow looks on.

Rembrandt Sleeping Shepherd - Detail