Rembrandt used broad brushstrokes in painting the head of the Greek poet Homer. His golden yellow robe gleams in the light, where Rembrandt applied the paint very effectively with a palette knife. The painting was commissioned by the Sicilian nobleman Antonio Ruffo. Originally, you could also see the scribe to whom the blind Homer dictated his verses. But this part was lost in a fire. On the lower right, you can still see two fingers holding a pen and a sheet of paper.
Commissioned by Don Antonio Ruffo, Messina; Ruffo family, Sicily, until c.1750; sale London, Christie's, 16 February 1810, lot 114 (" A School Master with His Pupil, 32" 11); Sir Abraham Hume (1749-18380, Ashridge Park (catalogue 1824, London, British Museum 7855.i.4, pp. 36-37: "Homer Dictating his poems"); S.T. Smith Gallery, London, 1885; T. Humphrey Ward & Son Gallery, London, 1894; Abraham Bredius, The Hague, 1894-1946 (on long-term loan to the Mauritshuis since 1894); bequest of Abraham Bredius, 1946
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