Woman with an Arrow by Rembrandt van Rijn sees the Dutch Master depict a fully nude woman, her back turned so that her body is twisted away from the viewer. She appears to be positioned seated on the edge of a curtained bed. In the darkness to the left, we can just make out the face of a young man.
Rembrandt’s life-drawing practice was controversial in his time. Rather than opting for classical models, his preference for women of varying body shapes and in contorted poses allowed him to evoke a greater variety of shadow and light effects. The arrow the figure is holding is likely to be a pictorial elaboration of the sling used to enable the model to maintain this strenuous position.
You can see this work and many other masterpieces on display in Rembrandt’s Light; a cinematic exploration of works by the Dutch Master at the Dulwich Picture Gallery until 2 February 2020. This etching comes from the collection of The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.
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P.S. Read more about this amazing exhibition here!