A painting that in recent decades was believed to be a copy of an original by Rembrandt it may actually be the work of the Dutch master. This was announced by Ashmolean Museum of Oxford, owner of the painting, after a new scientific investigation: it has been discovered that “Head of a bearded man” It was painted in the artist’s studio, possibly by Rembrandt himself.
The painting, donated by an anonymous British art dealer and collector in 1951, had previously been accepted as a genuine Rembrandt, until the Rembrandt Research Project reviewed the work in 1981. He ruled that the image was a mere copy, perhaps not even painted during the artist’s lifetime, and the museum exiled the oil on panel to its basement.
Today, the painting returns in triumph to the galleries of the Ashmolean, which exhibits an exhibition dedicated to the young Rembrandt. Following the museum’s reopening in August, the exhibition, which opened in February but canceled in March, has been extended until November 1. “It is exciting to discover that this painting came out of the workshop of one of the most famous artists of all time,” he warns An van Camp, Ashmolean Curator of Northern European Art. “I am delighted to have the opportunity to show the painting at the exhibition, where it can be seen alongside other works painted in Rembrandt’s workshop at the same time.”
Van Camp has been curious, ever since he joined the institution in 2015, about this small painting, fallen from grace and stored in the museum. “It’s very typical of what Rembrandt did in Leiden around 1630,” he told “The Guardian.” «Does these small mental studies of old men with melancholic and pensive looks».
While the exhibition was closed, Van Camp and museum curators Jevon Thistlewood and Morwenna Blewett hired Peter Klein, a specialist who determined that the wooden panel came from the same tree as that of two famous paintings: “Andromeda chained to the rocks”, by Rembrandt (c. 1630, Mauritshaus, The Hague) and “Portrait of Rembrandt’s mother”, by Jan Lievens (c. 1630, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden). At that moment, Rembrandt y Lievens they were young artists working in Leiden and possibly even sharing a studio.
«The table comes from an oak in the Baltic region, felled between 1618 and 1628Klein said in a statement. “Leaving a minimum of two years for the wood to dry, we can firmly date the portrait between 1620 and 1630.” These new findings are quite promising, but they are not enough to re-authenticate the work. “It requires cleaning and more analysis before any further conclusions can be drawn about it,” say museum sources.