The copy of a Rembrandt is in fact a Work of the Master

A nearly 400-year-old painting that had long been attributed to an unknown artist in Rembrandt's studio is now considered to be the work of the Dutch master himself, thanks to technology.

For ten years, the Allentown Art Museum exhibited a painting on panel in oil on oak entitled “Portrait of a young woman” and attributed it to “Atelier de Rembrandt”. Two years ago, the painting was sent to New York University to be kept and cleaned.

For ten years, the Allentown Art Museum exhibited a painting on panel in oil on oak entitled “Portrait of a young woman” and attributed it to “Atelier de Rembrandt”. Two years ago, the painting was sent to New York University to be kept and cleaned.

There, restorers began to remove the layers of dark, thick paint and varnish that had been added over the centuries - and they began to suspect that Rembrandt himself was responsible for the original, delicate brushwork.

"Our painting had many layers of varnish and it really obscured what you could see from the original brush, as well as the original color," said Elaine Mehalakes, vice-president of the Allentown Art Museum.

Curators used a variety of tools, including X-rays, infrared and electron microscopy, to support the idea that it was the work of one of the most important and revered artists in the world. history.

Scientific analysis "has shown a work with a brush, and a liveliness of this work, which is entirely consistent with other works of Rembrandt," said Shan Kuang, a curator of the Institute of Fine Arts New York University which restored “Portrait of a young woman”.

External experts who examined the 1632 painting after the completion of its two-year restoration agreed with the NYU assessment that it is an authentic Rembrandt.

When “Portrait of a Young Woman” was bequeathed to the museum in 1961, he was considered a Rembrandt. Ten years later, a group of experts determined that it had been painted by one of his assistants. Such changes in attribution are not unusual: Over the centuries, no less than 688 and even 265 paintings have been attributed to the artist, according to Mehalakes.