Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Study of an Old Man in Profile, c. 1630
The small Study of an Old Man in Profile was found by director of Statens Museum for Kunst, Karl Madsen at Fredensborg Castle, where he discovered the painting in a storage attic in 1899.
However, Rembrandt scholars doubted this attribution from as far back as 1933 onwards. Their doubts were mainly caused by the coarse style of painting; the scholars of the time found it difficult to reconcile this coarseness with what they thought of as the typically very meticulous and carefully finished style of Rembrandt's early works.
Broader and more varied brushstrokes
Recent art history has, however, pointed out that even during the earliest stage of his career - the years spent painting in his native town of Leiden - Rembrandt experimented with broader and more varied brushstrokes.
Studies of the artwork
Like other works by the young Rembrandt, this small painting appears to be a practice piece. X-ray studies bear out this theory by showing us that the old man's head was painted on top of another head that appears in several of Rembrandt's paintings from those years. At the same time, studies of the wooden panel show that the wood can be traced back to Rembrandt in terms of both geography and time.