Black chalk and touches of white chalk, within black ink framing lines, on blue paper
In an e-mail dated 28 November 2011, Dr. Bernhard Schnackenburg associates this very confident figure study with a group of Adriaen's earliest chalk drawings, dating from the early 1640s, good examples of which include three sheets now in Hamburg1, as well as the studies on the recto of the double-sided drawing that is lot 152 in the present sale. With its striking economy of line, this drawing illustrates Ostade's great mastery of the chalk medium, and his figure studies in this technique are among his most attractive and accomplished works.
It is not entirely clear what the figure seen here is actually doing, but there is a strong similarity with several of Ostade's iconic figures of pancake-makers, although there does not seem to be a directly connected figure in any of the artist's surviving paintings.
1. B. Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade, Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, 2 vols., Hamburg 1981, nos. 45-47
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