Despite some doubts in the past, recent scholarly opinion has favoured the attribution of this sensitive and subtly lit portrait to Rembrandt. It has the characteristic broad handling of the artist's late style and it was certainly highly esteemed by a visitor to the Gallery in 1824 who commented,
"Nothing can be richer than the colouring, more forcible and masterly than the handling, and more consistent and individualised than the character of the face. It is one of those portraits of which it is common to say - 'that must be a likeness'."
Although the sitter has traditionally been identified as Rembrandt’s only son Titus, the presence of the books that can just be discerned in the background indicate this is a portrait of a scholar.