Rembrandt could capture, as no other artist, the physical and psychological character of aged men and women. As evident in Bust of a Bearded Old Man, the elderly fascinated Rembrandt for their expressive physical qualities and underlying humanity. Rembrandt painted this compelling oil sketch with powerful and dynamic brushstrokes and, though using a limited palette, with pronounced contrasts of light and dark. Bust of a Bearded Old Man is the smallest known painting by Rembrandt, and the only grisaille by the artist in private hands.

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