With his simple black outfit, plain white collar and full, long beard, this 44-year-old man does not particularly observe the fashions of his day. On the basis of his outdated appearance, he is believed to be a Mennonite lay preacher.
The portrait was made by Govert Flinck, one of Rembrandt’s best pupils. Flinck painted it several years after leaving Rembrandt’s studio, but the resemblance to Rembrandt’s portraits is so striking that the work was long attributed to the great master. To make the attribution credible, Flinck’s signature was even rubbed off and replaced with a forged Rembrandt signature.
right of centre: [G. flinc]k. F / 1637 Linksonder: Æ 44
Count L. Mniszech, Paris, 1902; his sale, Paris, 9-11 April 1902, no. 110 (27,000 francs); F. Kleinberger Gallery, Paris; De Jonge Collection, Paris, 1911-1916; Frits Lugt, The Hague; Pieter van Leeuwen Boomkamp (1871-1956), Bussum; sale Amsterdam (Frederik Muller), 23-30 March 1943, no. 21 (for 54,000 guilders to Alois Miedl); Adolf Hitler, Führermuseum, Linz; Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit (inv. no. NK 2553); on loan to the Mauritshuis, 1948-1960; transferred, 1960
This painting is part of the Netherlands Art Property Collection (‘NK collection’): objects that were
stolen, seized or purchased during the Nazi regime. After the Second World War they were placed under the administration of the Dutch State. In recent decades, applications for restitution are taken into consideration again and some objects have been returned to the heirs of their rightful owners.