The Rijksmuseum’s collection of drawings encompasses approximately 50,000 objects, including sketchbooks. The drawings are done in various techniques: pen, chalk, pastel, watercolour, and combinations thereof. While the focus is on North Netherlandish drawing from the 16th to the 20th century, the collection also contains several sheets from the 15th century. Dating from the 16th century are first-rate groups of works by Crabeth, Goltzius and Jaques de Gheyn II. The 17th-century collection comprises work by virtually every leading draughtsman of the time. Highlights include 60 drawings by Rembrandt, and the Ter Borch family’s studio inventory. From the Southern Netherlands are works by Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck.
The 18th and 19th-century drawings provide an encyclopaedic overview, from De Wit, Troost, and Cats to the Hague School and Amsterdam School - with watercolours by Mauve, Isaac Israels, and Breitner. Peter Vos, Jaap Hillenius, and Lucebert are but a few of the artists represented in the museum’s rapidly expanding collection of 20th-century Dutch drawings. Particularly fine works from foreign schools are the 16th-century Italian drawings, and the 18th-century French drawings (Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard).