A self-portrait of Rembrandt laughing, which turned up in a British auction house last year, hides another painting by the master, according to art expert Ernst van de Wetering.
Wetering was investigating the mystery portrait’s authenticity. X-rays and infra-red photography have revealed traces of the other painting, including a hill, figures, swords and a gateway.
Van de Wetering was asked to investigate the British find after some experts said the 22cm by 17cm picture may not be by Rembrandt.
But Van der Wetering has established that the painting, which goes on show at the Rembrandthuis museum on Saturday, was painted by the Dutch master, probably in 1628. It is signed RHL (Rembrandt Harmenszoon Leidensis), the signature Rembrandt used that year.
Further evidence is provided by the fact that the painting is on a copper plate which matches a size Rembrandt used for engravings. ‘It is absolutely genuine,’ Van der Wetering tells news agency ANP.
The painting was described as a new find when it was auctioned last year but a small group did know of its existence, says ANP. A Flemish engraver had made a copy of the original around 1800.
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