The loose painting style, broad brushstrokes and dark tones of this painting bring to mind Rembrandt’s late work. But whether this is indeed a work by the great master remains unclear.
The identity of the sitter, who was long thought to be Rembrandt’s older brother Adriaen, only adds to the confusion. Today, however, we believe this painting to be a ‘tronie’, a study of a characterful old man’s facial expression.
Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 - 1669 Amsterdam) (?)
Study of an Old Man
Material and technical details
80.5 x 66.5 cm
Bears signature and date
left of centre, next to the shoulder: Rembrandt.f. / 1650
Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Lebrun, Paris, 1809-1810; Este sale, Paris, 28 April 1819, lot 64 (unsold; as kindly communicated by B. Fredericksen); Sébastien Erard, Paris, until 1832; Sir William Wellesley Knighton, Blendworth Lodge, Hampshire, 1885; Lesser Gallery, London; Sir John Robinson, London, 1889; Agnew’s, London, 1890; Charles Sedelmeyer Gallery, Paris, 1890; purchased, 1891