Rembrandt's drawings hold a special place in the history of art. The range and quality of these alone would fully establish his genius, quite apart from any of his paintings. For Rembrandt, drawing was an essential part of life. While he worked he surrounded himself with many of his drawings for reference and inspiration. The nature of the drawings ranges from delicate lightly drawn studies, of which Sleeping Woman is an example, to firmly finished and detailed studies, closely cross-hatched and used as preparations for paintings or etchings.
Sleeping Woman is superb. The deep understanding of light, direction of form, structure and texture enable Rembrandt to express with immediacy and freedom the essence of his subject.