Portrait as a young burgher

ISBN: 978-88-99680-16-9 – Lingua inglese
Curatrici: Anna Bronzoni Catellani – Roberta Lapucci – Irene Padovani
– Editore: etgraphiae

This project has been made possible thanks to the international collaboration of paintings conservators Dr. Anna Bronzoni Catellani (Ateljé Catellani AB, Stockholm) and Dr. Roberta Lapucci (Techno-Rest-Art, Florence), diagnostic European centers and institutions such as University of Antwerp, Art-Test laboratory (Floren­ce), R&C Lab S.r.l. (Altavilla Vicentina) and Dr. Joris Dik (Delft University of Technology) and Dr. Irene Padovani (Conservation Scientist, Hamburg).

An oil on canvas painting attributed to Rembrandt and representing a Portrait of a man, or Portrait as a young burgher, was fully investigated and restored, following a methodological approach which took into consideration: iconography, style, documentation, and technique. A diagnostic campaign was performed, in order to study and compare the materials and methods with those of Rembrandt and/or his pupils, assistants or cooperators.

After the removal of the discolored varnish layer (fig.2), the conservation intervention unveiled the superb and transparent nuances of the original artist’s touch. It also revealed the magnificent depth and luminosity of the paint layer, that was previously hidden under a murky opacity which had caused a flattening of the richly modeled forms. Furthermore, the removal of a previous old lining uncovered hidden written information which was present on the reverse side of the stretcher, resulting useful for the reconstruction of the provenance of the picture. It also allowed the back of the canvas to be studied and the garlanding, the characteristic weave pattern, the density and thickness of the threads to be better examined.

As scholars and market-oriented experts often disagree on attributions presenting arguments on both sides, it is considered fundamental, before any final attribution is made, to prove authenticity by using a scientific method. This allows to achieve a better understanding of the state of preservation, the techniques and the materials used, as well as the style, the iconography, and the documentation of the painting under analysis. To do this, the following tests were performed:

the original parts of the painting were scrutinized versus the restored parts;
the state of preservation was mapped and examined;
the technical quality was analyzed in its materials and methods;
the chronology and the geographical provenance of the materials composing the artwork were identified;
an attempt was made aimed at distinguishing the hand of the Master versus his workshop’s assistants.

The authenticity of Rembrandt’s work is difficult to ascertain due to the variety of techniques and methods that he employed, but also due to the strength and skills of his students and followers that so closely imitated his style in their own works. In order to accomplish an appropriate evaluation of the results obtained by the investigation analysis conducted on this case study, it behoves to briefly introduce the stylistic technique, the used materials and the peculiar aspects of Rembrandt’s production, focusing on the early period of his activity.



Portrait as a young burgher

Curatrici: Anna Bronzoni Catellani – Roberta Lapucci – Irene Padovani
Editore: etgraphiae
Brossura pp. 96 ill.  a colori e b/n
cm 17×24

Lingua: Inglese

ISBN 978-88-99680-16-9
prezzo E 25,00

Distribuzione: Editoriale UmbraLibro Co Italia