Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Hendrick Goudt, Dutch (The Hague or Utrecht, Netherlands c. 1583 - 1648 Utrecht, Netherlands)
The Temptation of Jesus
Other Titles
Alternate Title: The Devil Tempting Christ
Work Type
c. 1600-1604
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink over black chalk on cream antique laid paper
41.3 x 27.0 cm (15 13/16 x 10 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, center, graphite: 1D
  • inscription: verso, upper left, graphite: 705/
  • inscription: verso, lower right, brown ink: elsheimer. [partially cropped]
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: E. ws / 1
  • watermark: Strasbourg bend with 4 and WR below; nearly identical to Heawood 141 (England c. 1598, noting similar watermarks in Holland, 1588 and 1616)
  • collector's mark: verso, lower right, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: H / 11364 [? partially cropped]
Johann August Gottlieb Weigel, Leipzig. [H. G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 30 May 1888 and following days, lot 1097 (as Elsheimer)]. Anton Brück, Frankfurt am Main, sold [Rudolf Bangel, Frankfurt am Main, 11 December 1893, lot. 187 (as Elsheimer)]. [Sotheby's, New York, 12 January 1994, lot 77, repr. (as circle of Elsheimer)]; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston (L. 3306, verso, lower right); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, 2008.257
Published Text
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016)

Catalogue entry no. 44 by William W. Robinson:

When this impressive drawing came to light in a 1994 New York auction, it was sold with the attribution “Circle of Adam Elsheimer.” In his entry in the sale catalogue, Gregory Rubinstein suggested that it might be by the Dutch draftsman and printmaker Hendrick Goudt, Elsheimer’s patron and the author of seven celebrated engravings after pictures by the German master.1 Comparison of the present sheet with two studies by Goudt of a nude female model—one of which is in the Maida and George Abrams Collection (Fig. 1)—confirms that the Temptation of Jesus can be assigned to him with confidence.2 Its technique is identical to that of the life studies: rigorously methodical cross-hatching to model the darker areas and neat, disciplined parallel lines for the middle tones. The clothing in The Temptation of Jesus and the flesh of the model’s body in the nudes display hard, faceted surfaces, which Goudt evoked through the stark contrast of the densely applied pen work and the large, planar reserves that represent eye-catching highlights. The lapidary surface effects and systematic technique of the drawings derive from engravings of the 1590s by Hendrick Goltzius.3 Following the lead of Goltzius and other draftsmen in his circle, such as Jacques de Gheyn II and Jan Harmensz. Muller, Goudt adapted the linear vocabulary of Goltzius’s engravings to produce virtuoso pen drawings.

Goudt’s earliest documented work is a painstaking pen-and-ink copy after an engraving by Lucas van Leyden. It is signed and dated 1600, when the artist was sixteen or seventeen years of age.4 The Temptation of Jesus and the two nude studies probably also date from the first years of the seventeenth century.5 We have no documentation of the artist’s training, but in addition to the influence of Goltzius’s engravings, Goudt’s drawings are indebted to the work of Jacques de Gheyn II, who might have been his teacher.6 De Gheyn settled in 1601 in the Hague, where Goudt presumably resided, and Goudt’s mature studies attest to his familiarity with De Gheyn’s drawings of around 1600.7

The Harvard drawing illustrates an event related in the gospels of Saint Matthew (4:1–4) and Saint Luke (4:1–4). Following his baptism, Jesus fasted for forty days in the desert. The devil tempted him three times. At his first appearance he said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” In Goudt’s drawing, Satan points to the stone held in his right hand as he listens to Jesus’s reply: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). In accordance with a Renaissance iconographic tradition, the tempter disguises his true identity by wearing a monk’s habit.8


1 Catalogue of the sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 12 January 1994, lot 77.

2 Hendrick Goudt, Standing Female Nude (Fig. 1). Brown ink over black chalk; 383 × 234 mm. Inscribed, lower left, in brown ink, goút. Maida and George Abrams Collection, Boston. For the two studies of female nudes by Goudt, see William Robinson in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, Rijksprentenkabinet; Vienna: Albertina; New York: Pierpont Morgan Library; Cambridge: Harvard University Art Museums, 1991), cat. 5, pp. 28–29, and Marijn Schapelhouman and Peter Schatborn, Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: Artists Born between 1580 and 1600; Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish drawings in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, vol. 6 (Amsterdam and London, 1998), vol. 1, under cat. 123, p. 72.

3 For example, compare the nudes with Goltzius’s Jupiter and Juno, from the series Divine Couples, c. 1594, Huigen Leeflang and Ger Luijten, eds., Hendrick Goltzius (1558–1617): Drawings, Prints and Paintings (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum; New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Toledo, Ohio: Toledo Museum of Art, 2003), p. 204, fig. 80, and the clothing in The Temptation of Jesus with that worn by figures in the series Life of the Virgin, 1593–94, Leeflang and Luijten, cats. 75.1–75.6, pp. 210–15.

4 Goudt’s drawing reproduces Lucas’s engraving of 1525, Virgilius the Magician in a Basket, Jan Piet Filedt Kok et al. in New Hollstein, Lucas van Leyden, no. 136, p. 130, repr. p. 131, fig. 136; Schapelhouman and Schatborn, vol. 1, cat. 119, p. 70. On the significance of this drawing as a virtuoso Federkunststück, or artwork in pen and ink, see Christian Tico Seifert, “Von Amateuren und Virtuosen: Bemerkungen zu Zeichnungen nach druckgraphischen Vorlagen,” in Markus Castor, Jasper Kettner, Christien Melzer, and Claudia Schnitzer, eds., Druckgraphik: Zwischen Reproduktion und Invention (Berlin and Munich, 2010): 10–24, pp. 12 and 17–21. My thanks to Katherine Harper for this reference and her comments on this entry.

5 Joachim Jacoby (Die Zeichnungen von Adam Elsheimer: Kritischer Katalog, Frankfurt am Main: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 2008, p. 249) sees in the distant landscape at the upper right of the Harvard drawing the influence of Elsheimer’s landscapes, which would indicate a date during or after Goudt’s sojourn in Italy. However, the tight, rhythmic pen work of this passage seems closer to landscape drawings of the 1590s by Goltzius and De Gheyn (Emil Karel Josef Reznicek, Die Zeichnungen von Hendrick Goltzius, Utrecht, 1961, cat. 393, dated 1596; I. Q. van Regteren Altena, Jacques de Gheyn: Three Generations (The Hague, Boston, and London, 1983, cat. 977, dated 1599). This, combined with the very De Gheyn–like handling of the pen in the figures, suggests to me that the Harvard drawing dates from the first years of the seventeenth century and before Goudt’s departure for Italy in 1604.

6 Van Regteren Altena, vol. 1, p. 58, pointed out that although Van Mander did not list Goudt among De Gheyn’s pupils, he may have worked in De Gheyn’s studio and he certainly studied, and even copied, De Gheyn’s drawings. On Goudt and De Gheyn, see also Hans Möhle, Die Zeichnungen Adam Elsheimers: Das Werk des Meisters und der Problemkreis Elsheimer‑Goudt (Berlin, 1966), pp. 58–65.

7 With few exceptions, Goudt’s later pen drawings emulate the technique De Gheyn began to use about 1599 in works such as Portrait of Johan Halling (Van Regteren Altena, vol. 2, cat. 679). They are dated by Möhle (1966, pp. 59 and 98–99) to the period before Goudt departed for Rome. See also Van Regteren Altena, vol. 1, pp. 158– 59, and Schapelhouman and Schatborn, vol. 1, p. 72.

8 James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art (rev. ed. New York, 1979), p. 298.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Catalog einer Sammlung von Original-Handzeichnungen der deutschen, holländischen, flandrischen, italienischen, französischen, spanischen und englischen Schule gegründet und hinterlassen von J. A. G. Weigel in Leipzig., auct. cat., T. O. Weigel (Leipzig, 1869), no. 60, p. 12 (as Elsheimer)

Hans Möhle, Die Zeichnungen Adam Elsheimers: Das Werk des Meisters und der Problemkreis Elsheimer-Goudt, Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft (Berlin, 1966), cat. no. C1, pp. 175-176 (as Elsheimer)

William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 31, pp. 88-89, 252-53 and 280, repr.

Michiel C. Plomp, "[Review] Bruegel to Rembrandt. Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection.", Oud Holland (2004), vol. 117, no. 1/2, pp. 99-102, p. 101 (n. 3)

Joachim Jacoby, Die Zeichnungen von Adam Elsheimer: Kritischer Katalog, Städel Museum (Frankfurt am Main, 2008), cat. no. A4, p. 249, repr.

Stijn Alsteens, [Review] William W. Robinson, with Susan Anderson, "Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums", Master Drawings (Winter 2015), LIII, no. 4, pp. 531-534, p. 534

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), cat. no. 44, pp. 158-160, repr. p. 159; watermark p. 377

Exhibition History

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, British Museum, London, 06/13/2002 - 09/22/2002; Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 10/10/2002 - 12/08/2002; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

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