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Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606-Amsterdam 1669)

A Rabbi with a Cap Dated 1635

Oil on panel | 72.6 x 62.3 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 405519

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This type of character head was common in Dutch art – they called it a tronie, meaning something like ‘mug-shot’. In this case Rembrandt’s model is from Amsterdam’s Jewish community. He uses the format to explore costumes and expressions for his Old Testament subjects. He employs a looser style of painting than would have been appropriate for his commissioned portraits at this time.

Acquired by George III in 1762 as part of the collection of Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice