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After 40 years, painting considered fake authenticated as from Rembrandt’s workshop

A painting in the Ashmolean Museum, previously considered a copy, is now authenticated as genuinely made in artist Rembrandt van Rijn workshop.

The painting, titled “Head of a Bearded Man”, was first acquired by the Ashmolean Museum in 1951, under the impression that it was a genuine painting. However, in 1982 the Rembrandt Research Project assessed that it was a mere copy. Thereafter, the painting was kept in the museum’s storage until the “Young Rembrandt” exhibition recently.

The curator behind the project, An Van Camp, carried out the evaluation of “Head of a Bearded Man” and deemed that it was genuinely made in Rembrandt’s workshop. The evaluation was done by matching the wood panel to Andromeda (another painting by Rembrandt) and Portrait of Rembrandt’s Mother (made by Jan Lievens). Both works were made in the same workshop in Leiden in the early 1630s.

“Self-Portrait With Two Circles”, c. 1665-59, one of the 40 self-portraits made by Rembrandt.

The “Young Rembrandt” exhibition tries to focus on the work of the master during his early days. Other works included in the project include Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (1630), Self-Portrait (1629) and Bearded Old Man (1632). Regarding the new information about the authenticity of the “Head of a Bearded Man”, Van Camp gave the following statement:

“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. 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.”

For Rembrandt, the 17th-century art maestro, 2020 has been an eventful year. He was earlier in news in February when another painting, this time at Allentown Art Museum in Pennsylvania, was authenticated as the work of the artist.