Wednesday 01 February 2023

‘Doubtful’ Rembrandt verified as authentic after 50 years

A 379-year-old Rembrandt self-portrait has been verified as being painted by the Dutch old master’s own hand after 50 years of doubt, according to British newspaper the Daily Mail.

Painted in 1635, the authenticity of the portrait was thrown into doubt in 1968 by Rembrandt specialist Horst Gerson and the Rembrandt Research Project.

The 91 x 72 cm painting was given as a gift to the English National Trust in 2010 and displayed at Buckland Abbey, near Tavistock in Devon.

In 2012, leading Rembrandt expert Dr Ernst van de Wetering studied the painting and concluded it could be genuine. This led the National Trust to send it to the world famous Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridgeshire for further scientific analysis.


‘The self-portrait was subjected to a series of investigative analyses, including magnification, infra-red reflectography and pigment analysis,’ the institute’s Christine Slottvedd Kimbriel told the Daily Mail.

‘Careful cleaning and removal of several layers of yellowed varnish revealed the original colours and painting style beneath,’ she said.

A close examination of the artist’s signature also provided clues to the painting’s authenticity.


Van de Wetering examined the painting after cleaning and told the Daily Mail: ‘Although I was pretty certain it was a Rembrandt when I saw it in 2012, I wanted to further examine it. With all this additional scientific evidence, I am satisfied it is by Rembrandt.’

The work of art, valued at £30m, is now back on display at Buckland Abbey.


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