This painting is a ‘tronie’, a study of a characterful old man’s facial expression. Its resemblance to portraits Rembrandt painted of his father, Harmen Gerritsz, led people to believe that this was another portrait of him. For many years, the painting was even attributed to Rembrandt. But conservation treatment (in 1999) revealed that it had in fact been made by one of Rembrandt’s better students, who had taken one of his teacher’s paintings as his example.
This painting is on temporary display to replace Rembrandt’s self-portrait from 1669 and his ‘Portrait of an Elderly Man’ from 1667. These works are currently on loan.