Portrait of a Boy

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669)
Oil on canvas 
25-1/2 x 22 in. (64.8 x 55.9 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
On View

In its unfinished state, this exceptional picture offers invaluable insight into Rembrandt's working method. Over the rich, dark ground, the body and costume have been indicated merely with a few broad, sure brushstrokes. The collar, hair and head have been developed further, with layers of scumbles and glazes, while the face, particularly the eyes, has been fully modeled and highly finished. The child's face, bathed in an even, frontal light, radiates from the velvety darkness of the background. This unusually straightforward presentation reflects and enhances the engaging charm and openness of the ingenuous child, who eagerly presents himself to the viewer.


Anonymous collection, near The Hague, sold to;
Mr. Barker, sold ca. 1830 to;
George Spencer (1758-1834), 2nd Earl Spencer, Althorp, Northamptonshire, by inheritance to his son;
John Charles (1782-1845), 3rd Earl Spencer, Althorp, Northamptonshire, by inheritance to his son;
Frederick Spencer (1798-1857), 4th Earl Spencer, Althorp, Northamptonshire, by inheritance to his son;
John Poyntz Spencer (1835-1910), 5th Earl Spencer, by inheritance to his brother;
Charles Spencer (b. 1857), 6th Earl Spencer, Althorp, Northamptonshire, sold September 1915 for £35,000 to;
Sir Herbert Frederick Cook (1868-1939), 3rd Bt., Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, gift to his son;
Sir Francis Ferdinand Maurice Cook (b. 1907), 4th Bt. And Visconde de Monserrate in Portugal, Le Coin, Jersey, C.I., gift to his seventh wife;
Dame Bridget Brenda Cook (sale, London, Christie’s, 19 March 1965, lot 105, sold to);
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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