Fake Rembrandt in Oxford may be real deal after all
A small painting in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford that was branded fake in the 1980s, may have been painted by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn after all. New research showed that the postcard sized painting of a sad looking man in a beard was painted on wood from the same tree as Rembrandt's other wood painting Andromeda Chained to the Rocks, The Guardian reported.
The museum had Head of Bearded Man examined by Peter Klein, one of the world's leading experts in tree-ring dating. He confirmed that the wood panel the bearded man is painted on came from the same tree as Rembrand'ts Andromeda, which hangs in the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Jan Lievens' Portrait of Rembrandt's Mother was also painted on this same wood. Both paintings were created around 1630, when the two artist friends were working in Leiden.
According to Klein, the wood panel came from an oak tree felled in the Baltic region some time between 1618 an 1628. "Allowing a minimum of two years for the seasoning of the wood, we can firmly date the portrait to 1620-30," he said. This shows that the panel at least came from Rembrandt's workshop, Klein said. Further investigation will have to reveal whether it was painted by Rembrandt himself.
In 1981 the Rembrandt Research Project, considered the leading authority on all things Rembrandt, branded Head of a Bearded Man a fake. They concluded it that it might by an imitator painting and may not even have been painted in the Dutch master's lifetime. But An Van Camp, the Ashmolean's curator of norther European art, always doubted this conclusion. Which is why she had Peter Klein called in.
"It is what Rembrandt does," Van Camp said to The Guardian. "He does these tiny head studies of old men with forlorn, melancholic, pensive looks. It is very typical of what Rembrandt does in Leiden around 1630."