A real Rembrandt? Shades of difference

October 30, 2011 

  • Animates the space around the figure with light and atmosphere.

    Conveys the softness of facial flesh, carefully rendering individual features.

    Accurately captures the musculature around the eyes with great subtlety.

    Individualizes the curls of hair.

    Convincingly portrays the subject's three-dimensionality, padded jacket and all.

    Details of costumes are sharp, including banderole over the subject's shoulder and gleam of light across the metal breastplate.

  • Less successful in enveloping the figure in its surrounding space.

    Has hard, chiseled features that don't convey bones and tendons beneath the skin.

    Takes shortcuts in describing some features.

    Curls more crudely rendered; painter used the butt end of the brush to scratch curls in the hair.

    Less successful in showing the brocade at the bottom of his cloak and the chain around the neck.

Curator Dennis Weller gives pointers on identifying an authentic Rembrandt painting by comparing two paintings from "Rembrandt in America" - one an authentic Rembrandt, the other not. The authentic Rembrandt is "Joris de Caulerij," on loan from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and the non-Rembrandt is the N.C. Museum of Art's "Young Man With a Sword," which is now attributed to the "Circle of Rembrandt" (probably painted by one of his students).

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