Intricate crosshatching and a spectacular mastering of light render this detailed Rembrandt portrait. Sunken shadows follow the old man’s weathered face, undulating over his aged skin and full beard. Depicted in a three quarter profile, with closed eyes, Rembrandt characterizes his subject as a cerebral and introspective figure, while he is exoticized by his distinguishing accessory, the high fur cap. Meticulously textured, Rembrandt is able to capture the old man’s essence with immaculate exactitude. To the left of the composition, a gradient of crosshatching fades into the empty background creating a sense of atmosphere and depth to the work.
Created c. 1635, this work is signed and dated Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Leiden, 1606- Amsterdam, 1669) in the plate by ‘Rembrandt’ and ‘R’ in reverse in the upper left. Likely a life time impression, according to New Hollstein Dutch this work is a State II (of IV), a Nowell Usticke State IV (of V); Biörklund’s State V (of V); Hind State V (of V); White and Boon’s State V (of V).