U.K.'s National Trust discovers it owns a Rembrandt
Donated work could be worth $30M
Posted: Mar 18, 2013 11:39 AM ET
Last Updated: Mar 18, 2013 11:38 AM ET
A painting donated to Britain’s National Trust in 2010 has been identified as a self-portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn that could be worth £20 million ($30 million Cdn).
The work showing Rembrandt wearing a black cap with two ostrich feathers and a short, decorated velvet cape was previously thought to have been painted by one of the artist's pupils.
But Ernst van de Wetering, a leading expert on the Dutch master, has re-attributed it as a work by the 17th Century painter himself.
'Throughout the decades-long flim-flamming about its provenance, this fine picture has remained resolutely the same, there for us to judge and enjoy on its own artistic merits, regardless of who painted it'— David Taylor, National Trust
It has been at Buckland Abbey in Devon, the former home of Sir Francis Drake, since 2010, when it was donated to the National Trust by the estate of Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych Cross, whose husband Harold, Lord Samuel of Wych Cross, was a great collector of Dutch and Flemish paintings. The painting had previously belonged to the Princes of Liechtenstein.
The work is dated 1635 and signed by Rembrandt, but the artist operated a large studio in which his pupils emulated his style and composition. In 1968, another Rembrandt specialist, Horst Gerson, suggested it may have been painted by one of the artist's pupils.
That decision was based on what was known about the painter’s style in 1968.
Renewed understanding of Rembrandt's style
Van de Wetering, who is the chairman of the Rembrandt Research Project and a leading expert on the painter, said he based his decision that the work was done by the Dutch master himself on an X-ray of the painting published in 2005 and a renewed understanding of Rembrandt’s style.
"Over the past 45 years we have gathered far more knowledge about Rembrandt's self-portraits and the fluctuations in his style," he said.
He said the painting's crude brushwork and painting technique is observed in other paintings from the early stage of Rembrandt's career.
The painting will hang a Buckland Abbey for another eight months, then be sent for cleaning and further examination, including X-rays, examination of paint pigments, infrared testing and tree-ring dating of the beech panel it is painted on.
The portrait is the only Rembrandt in the National Trust's collection of approximately 13,500 paintings and one of the most valuable paintings it owns. The heritage institution, which runs dozens of British monuments and historic buildings, will not be selling it.
David Taylor of the National Trust said he hoped the news the painting is likely by Rembrandt himself would encourage more people to come to see it.
Lots of Rembrandt self-portraits
“Throughout the decades-long flim-flamming about its provenance, this fine picture has remained resolutely the same, there for us to judge and enjoy on its own artistic merits, regardless of who painted it,” he said in a statement.
Rembrandt "produced a huge number of self-portraits throughout his career, partly because he had a ready subject matter in himself, through which he could develop his painting technique but also because, as he was already famous, the finished images were highly desirable pictures for collectors,” Taylor added.With files from the Associated Press
- Jedward on the MMVA red carpet by Laura Thompson Jun. 17, 2013 12:48 PM Cheerful pop duo Jedward had much to say to CBC News on the red carpet Sunday night at the Much Music Video Awards in Toronto. A lot of their excitement came from seeing Avril Lavigne, complete with spiky hairband. Check out the Irish twins in this video clip.
Top News Headlines
- Obesity called a disease by U.S. doctors group
- In order to fight what it described as an "obesity epidemic," the American Medical Association voted to recognize obesity as a disease and recommended a number of measures to fight it. more »
- Neil Macdonald: Washington's obsession with leakers
- Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are just the most prominent targets in an all-out legal and propaganda campaign that America's security apparatus is mounting against leakers everywhere, Neil Macdonald writes. more »
- How open is Ottawa's new 'open data' website?
- Treasury Board President Tony Clement is touting the federal government's revamped data portal as a "new natural resource." But that online window for previously published data arrives at the same time the government faces controversy over just how open it really is. more »
- 30,000 Canadians are homeless every night
- A new national report into homelessness in this country tells a grim story — at least 200,000 Canadians experience homelessness in any given year and least 30,000 Canadians are homeless on any given night. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Dolce and Gabbana convicted of tax evasion
- A Milan court has convicted fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of tax evasion, finding the pair guilty of failing to declare €1 billion ($1.37 billion Cdn) in income to authorities. more »
- Yodelling country singer Slim Whitman dies at 90
- Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy Mars Attacks!, died Wednesday at a Florida hospital. He was 90. more »
- Ai Weiwei's zodiac sculpture unveiled in Toronto
- A monumental sculpture series by Chinese activist-artist Ai Weiwei was officially unveiled Tuesday outside of Toronto's City Hall. more »
- Alice Munro wins Ontario's Trillium Book Award
- Alice Munro has won this year's Trillium Book Award in English-language for Dear Life: Stories, a collection of tales set in the countryside and towns around Lake Huron. more »
- Guillermo Del Toro's Monsters Jun. 19, 2013 11:45 AM The award winning director stops by Studio Q to chat about his upcoming blockbuster Pacific Rim.
- Michael Pollan: 'We watch people cook on TV more than we cook ourselves' Jun. 19, 2013 9:50 AM Food writer Michael Pollan chronicles his pilgrimages to people who are keeping culinary traditions alive in his new book Cooked.
- 2 men jailed in Dominican wedding fight back in Canada
- Bob Rae quits as MP in 'very emotional' decision
- Half of First Nations children live in poverty
- B.C. teacher duct-taped students' mouths
- All-party deal on bills, MP oversight lets House out early
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- Huge ancient city at Angkor Wat revealed by lasers
- How open is Ottawa's new 'open data' website?
- Tim Hortons being circled by Wall Street hedge funds