CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Unkown Rembrandt painting in Rembrandt House Museum

From the museum’s press release, 2 December 2011

Today the Rembrandt House Museum presented an unknown painting by Rembrandt. The small panel, Old man with a beard has been painted by Rembrandt circa 1630 at the end of his Leiden period. The Rembrandt House Museum will show the painting on loan from a private collector.

Ernst van de Wetering is convinced the painting is an authentic work by Rembrandt, based on stylistic similarities with other works by Rembrandt from the period. There are known copies, a print from 1633, stating Rembrandt as the maker and a painted copy by a pupil. Moreover, technical research showed that under the visible paint layers is a self portrait by Rembrandt.

The self portrait could be made visible by scanning it at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and ESRF in Grenoble. Researchers made use of Macro-scanning X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), a technique developed by prof. Koen Janssens (University of Antwerp)and prof. Joris Dik (TU delft). XRF detects pigments in lower layers of paint, which makes it possible to produce an image of overpainted areas in a painting.

From 1 May to 1 July 2012, the Rembrandt House Museum will organise an exhibition in which the XRF-research on 10 Rembrandt paintings is presented.

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