The Actor Willem Bartholsz Ruyter as a Peasant, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1638

The Actor Willem Bartholsz Ruyter as a Peasant, Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1638

pen and iron-gall ink, with brown wash and opaque white, some areas deliberately rubbed with a finger or wet brush, on paper toned with a light brown wash; framing line in brown ink, h 139mm × w 174mm Catalogue entry

Willem Bartholsz Ruyter (1587-1639) was a famous actor in Amsterdam. One drawing shows him as King Ahasuerus, who has just heard from his Jewish wife, Esther, that his confidant Haman had ordered the death of all Jews. In the second study, he wears the costume of a country yokel who was the central figure in popular farces called ‘boertigheden’.

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