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Prints and Drawings
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Jacques de Gheyn II, Dutch, 1565–1629

A Youth Seated at a Table (recto); Head of a Child with Curly Hair (verso)

ca. 1604

Pen and brown ink

13.5 × 10.3 cm (5 5/16 × 4 1/16 in.)
Egmont Collection, Yale Library Transfer
Jacques de Gheyn II, a prolific draftsman, worked in a naturalistic style that developed in both Italy and northern Europe as the artists who came of age toward the end of the sixteenth century rejected the artificiality of Mannerism. Though it has been suggested that this drawing represents de Gheyn himself, or his son, neither identification can be sustained, and the sitter is probably a young artist in de Gheyn’s studio. The iconography of the drawing is often read as having moralizing overtones, the candle referring to the brevity of life, the writing implements connoting the vanity of earthly endeavors. These meanings are in keeping with de Gheyn’s industrious outlook and may well have been implicit in the image, although given de Gheyn’s many other drawings that are straightforward studies of individual figures, heads, or limbs, it is perhaps unnecessary to insist too strongly on symbolic content.
Made in The Netherlands
17th century
Works on Paper - Drawings and Watercolors

John Percival, 1st Earl of Egmont; John T. Graves; Robert Hoe; Yale Univ. Library (anonymous donor, 1957)


Suzanne Boorsch and John J. Marciari, Master Drawings from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 26, 29, 118–19, no. 32, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.