Painting Long Considered a Fake Authenticated as Creation of Rembrandt’s Workshop

Claire Selvin

BY CLAIRE SELVINAugust 31, 2020 11:48am

Workshop of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn,
Workshop of Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Head of a Bearded Man, ca. 1630, oil on oak panel.COURTESY ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM

A small-scale painting in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, that has long been believed to be a fake has been authenticated as a product of Rembrandt van Rijn’s workshop. But further research is still required to determine whether the work, titled Head of a Bearded Man (ca. 1630), was created by the Dutch master himself, according to a report by the Guardian.

The work’s connection to Rembrandt’s workshop was uncovered by dendrochronologist Peter Klein, who matched its wood panel to that of the artist’s Andromeda painting and Jan Lievens’s Portrait of Rembrandt’s Mother, both of which were created around 1630 in the Dutch city of Leiden.

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The Ashmolean acquired Head of a Bearded Man in 1951 under the assumption that it was a genuine Rembrandt. A little over three decades later, in 1982, the Rembrandt Research Project deemed the work a copy. The painting sat in the institution’s storage until An Van Camp, its curator of northern European art, began working on the museum’s current “Young Rembrandt” exhibition, which spotlights the artist’s early paintings and drawings.

This week, Head of a Bearded Man will be incorporated into the “Young Rembrandt” show, which reopened to the pubic on August 10. Other highlights in the presentation include Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait (1629), Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (1630), and Bearded Old Man (1632).

“As a curator it is incredibly exciting to find out that a previously unidentified painting can be placed in the workshop of one of the most famous artists of all times,” Van Camp said in a statement. “I am delighted to have the chance to show the panel in our exhibition where it can be seen alongside other works painted in Rembrandt’s workshop at the same time.”

This is not the only Rembrandt-related headline to emerge this year. In February, a painting at the Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania was authenticated as a work by the artist.


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