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A48 Seated Male Nude. Like A.55 this drawing was once accepted as a Rembrandt preparation for his etching B.193 but was demoted by Benesch for the same reason. This time he suggests that "we must assume that a drawing by Rembrandt himself showing the model once existed". This must surely be complete nonsense. Here again the drawing is superior to the Rembrandt etching in several ways. Firstly, the foreshortening of the head is greatly superior and the character more interesting, secondly the feeling for the pose - relaxing back against a support comes across much more clearly and, thirdly, the arms, shoulders and chest have more individuality. The drawing is altogether better. We may prefer Rembrandt in his bolder mood but that is no reason for refusing to accept what common sense dictates. It is true that the pose is not identical but the difference between them can most easily be accounted for by the model repositioning himself after a break.

Benesch's explanation is far fetched, and though he is welcome to his opinion in a private capacity, we are under no obligation to follow his lead. He has made a grave error of judgement. Rembrandt has been ship-wrecked, because once drawings of this quality have leaked out of his portfolio, there is nothing to stop hundreds of others of similar quality from following, and that is what has happened.

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