The Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam has found itself to be the proud owner of an extra Rembrandt. The painting Tobias and his wife has always been attributed to one of the 17th-century master’s pupils, but according to Rembrandt expert Ernst van de Wetering, it’s by Rembrandt himself.
Museum director Sjarel Ex: “The painting was on display, but not in the museum. It was hanging in one of the reception rooms. Then one day we had a visit from Ernst van de Wetering, the driving force and brains behind the Rembrandt Research Project. Mr Van de Wetering said he’d like to get a better look at the thing, with some people and some microscopes. At a certain point it became evident that in his mind he was attributing this painting, this Barent Fabricius, to Rembrandt.”
And indeed, this is just what the study concluded. Ernst van de Wetering is absolutely positive: the painting is “undoubtedly” the work of the master.
An unusual Rembrandt
According to Mr Ex, the work wasn’t recognised as a Rembrandt before because it hadn’t been examined thoroughly enough. At the same time, at first glance it is slightly different from other works by Rembrandt. “It was an exceptionally good Fabricius, now it’s an unusual Rembrandt.”
Tobias and his wife might not be one of Rembrandt van Rijn’s finest works, but that doesn’t prevent Mr Ex looking at it with very different eyes now its true creator has been revealed. For one thing, “We’ve increased the insurance value from 80,000 to 8 million euros.”