A painting attributed to one of Rembrandt's students has now been identified as one done by the master's hand. An advanced x-ray technology has revealed outlines of a self-portrait by a young Rembrandt underneath an oil painting of an old bearded man.
Ernst van de Wetering of the Rembrandt Research Project dates the painting to 1630, when Rembrandt would have been 24 years old. Presumably, Rembrandt began the painting as a self-portrait and then later changed it.
In the outlines of the unfinished figure, van de Wetering recognized key elements typical to Rembrandt's early portraiture such as posture, hairstyle, and black beret. In addition, there is a print from 1633 of the painting with an inscription stating it was made by Rembrandt.
The small panel is currently on loan from a private collector at the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam.
The x-ray analysis, done by a new detector system called Maia, reveals pigments in hidden layers of paint. Maia's technology allows for more rapid analysis, as it imaged the painting in eight hours when it would normally take over thirty days.
Next spring, the Rembrandt House Museum will exhibit ten paintings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries currently being analyzed by this new technology.
(Report: Alisa Alexander for ARTFIXdaily)