Ackland Showing Rembrandt Drawings

Rembrandt van Rijn, “Studies of a smoker and card players,” circa 1635-40.

On the occasion of the 350th anniversary of the death of Rembrandt van Rijn, the Ackland Art Museum will exhibit for two weeks seven of his drawings that were given to the museum two years ago.

“All the Rembrandt Drawings!” opens on Friday, Oct. 4, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 20.

The Ackland is the only public university art museum in the U.S. to own a collection of Rembrandt’s drawings. They were acquired from Dr. Sheldon Peck ’63 (’66 DDS) and his wife, Leena, as part of a $25 million gift that included the endowment of a curator for European and American art before 1950.

Rembrandt van Rijn, “Canal and boats with a distant view of Amsterdam,” circa 1655.

“This special presentation of Rembrandt drawings from the Peck Collection not only explores the artist’s amazing technical skill and his profound insight into the human condition but also presents an occasion to highlight the ongoing importance of the Pecks’ gift to the Museum,” said curator Dana Cowen. “Such a display places the Ackland among other museums worldwide that are celebrating Rembrandt’s considerable artistic legacy this year and represents a rare opportunity for art lovers in North Carolina to see Rembrandt’s talent as a draftsman.”

Rembrandt van Rijn, “Noli me tangeri,” circa 1655-66.

The drawings, which were created over a 20-year period from about 1635 to 1656, depict biblical and genre scenes, figure studies and the Dutch landscape. They range widely in style and technique and reveal how Rembrandt used the medium to refine his skills, record interesting motifs and experiment with composition. Highlights from the group of drawings include “Noli me tangere,” a scene in which Jesus reveals himself to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, and “Studies of a woman and two children,” one of about 25 drawings known today that feature an inscription by the artist.

Assembled over four decades, the Peck collection and its accompanying funding represented the largest gift ever to the museum, establishing the Ackland as a significant resource for Dutch Golden Age drawings in the U.S.

Cowen and Peck will host “Looking Over Rembrandt’s Shoulder: A Discussion of the Peck Collection Drawings” at 5 p.m. Oct. 11. It is free and open to the public. RSVP at

The museum will host guided tours of the exhibit at 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18; and at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 6, 13 and 20 — first come, first served, limited to 15 people.


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