Reply To: TPO3

University: Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Nationality: China
February 10, 2021 at 11:07 am

As the most famous of the seventeenth-century Dutch painters, Rembrandt had a painting known as Portrait of an Elderly Woman that was not attributed to him according to the passage. However, the professor states that the painting does belong to Rembrandt.

First, the inconsistency of woman’s garments shouldn’t appear in Rembrandt’s paintings. The white linen cap of a kind that servants would wear mismatched the luxurious fur collar in the painting. A recent study uses X-ray to examine and analyze the pigments. The result shows that the fur collar was painted on top of the original painting about 100 years later. Someone intended to increase the value of the painting by making the woman an aristocratic lady.

Second, the light and shadow seem to be unfit in the painting. Since the dark fur collar absorbed the light from below, it would result in shadow on the woman’s face. According to the study, after removing the dark fur collar, the woman in the original painting was wearing a simple collar of light-colored cloth. Thus, the light-colored cloth reflected the light and illuminated part of the woman’s face, proving that the painting’s shadow and light are reasonable from Rembrandt.

Finally, the back of the painting is made of several pieces of wood glued together. Apart from the fur collar, the painting was enlarged by gluing wood to make it more valuable and grander. The original painting on one piece of wood shows consistency with Rembrandt’s style. Besides, the wood used in “Portrait of an Elderly Woman” is from the same tree as the wood used for “Self-portrait with a Hat” from Rembrandt.