An excellent example of a drawing is Rembrandt’s A Man Rowing a Boat on the Bullewyk, c. 1650. We know that Rembrandt traveled with his sketchpad in his backpack. Whenever he saw an interesting site, tree, cottage, or natural arrangement, he would take out his sketchpad and draw the scene. His intention was only to record the basic layout of the scene. How does this evidence furia? There is no symmetry; the trees are weighted more to the right. Therefore, this is asymmetrical balance. There is no attempt to repeat lines or shapes. There is no rhythm or deliberate spacing of elements across the surface. Some areas are detailed (the trees and cottage roof on the center island) while others are empty (the sky and water’s surface). The outline of the city in the back left is minimally drawn in as is the man and his rowboat.  How does this evidence sprezzatura? Not only are there vast areas which the artist left blank, but in many areas, Rembrandt spent little time with his analytic lines.

 

LIGHTEN THIS UP QUITE A BIT

 What is that in the bottom left corner? Bushes, grasses? The lines are so sketchy, done so quickly, that they no longer function analytically, but become free form and almost gestural or expressive. Even the grasses on the island were quickly created with the pen.

We have a sense that Rembrandt saw the scene quickly, and drew it quickly. Obviously, he was inspired by or curious as to this island and the man in the rowboat, but his attention seemed to wane; he lost interest, did not finish the composition, and probably walked away. How long would it have taken Rembrandt to execute this drawing? Probably ten minutes maximum.