Dulwich Picture Gallery II


Imitator of Rembrandt DPG628

or after Gerard Dou
DPG628 – A Man in Armour

19th century; oak panel, 40 x 30.1 cm. On the back a sticker with text, ‘Little Room, … Priory 1888’, and on a piece of paper, ‘[Proba]bly a work of [Gera]rd Dou/ in my Will to [Dul]wich Art Gallery’.

Gift of Mrs R. H. Knollys, Tunbridge Wells, 1953.

Board Minutes, 5 June 1953, p. 149;1 Murray 1980a, p. 305, no. DPG628 (copy after Rembrandt); Beresford 1998, p. 193; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 170–72; RKD, no. 293227: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/293227 (Feb. 22, 2019).

Hatchlands 1994, n.p., no. 628 (A. Sumner; Manner of Rembrandt; ‘Rembrandt’s Father’ in a hauberk).

Single-member oak panel with a vertical grain. The remnants of three or four seals can be seen on the back of the panel. The edges are bevelled broadly on three sides, and very slightly on the left. The light brown/buff ground is visible in thinly painted areas. There are several small incipient cracks leading from the top edge, and on the verso there is a vertical gouge. The varnish is very discoloured and disturbed by partial cleaning. There are many scratches and scuffs in the modern varnish. Previous recorded treatment: 1953–5, Dr Hell; 1988, examined, Courtauld Institute of Art.

1) Rembrandt, An Old Man in Military Costume, monogrammed RHL, panel, 65.7 x 51.8 cm. J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 78.PB.246 [1].2
2) Rembrandt, Old Man with a Gold Chain, monogrammed RHL, c. 1631, panel, 83.1 x 75.7 cm. Art Institute of Chicago, Mr and Mrs W. W. Kimball Collection, 1922.4467 [2].3
3) Gerard Dou, Old Man with a Plumed Cap, c. 1630, panel (oval), 24 x 18 cm. Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel, GK 257 [3].4
4) Follower of Gerard Dou, Old Man with a Beret and Gorget, panel, 48.4 x 40.3 cm. Burghley House Collection, Stamford, Lincs, Pic 129 [4].5
5) Jacques des Rousseaux, Man in Eastern Costume, signed JPQ (or JR) A 1635, panel (oval), 76.5 x 57 cm. BVB, Rotterdam, 1737 [5].6

follower of Rembrandt or follower of Gerard Dou
Man in Armour, 19th century
panel (oak), oil paint 40 x 30,1 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG628

An old man in military costume, 1631
panel, oil paint 65,7 x 51,8 cm
Los Angeles/Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum, inv./cat.nr. 78.PB.246

An old man in a gorget and a black cap, c. 1631
panel (oak), oil paint 83,1 x 75,7 cm
lower left : RHL (in monogram)
Chicago (Illinois), The Art Institute of Chicago, inv./cat.nr. 22.4467

Gerard Dou
Portrait of an old man wearing a feathered beret, c. 1630
panel (oak), oil paint 24 x 18 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, inv./cat.nr. GK 257

follower of Gerard Dou
Old man with a beret and gorget, 17th Century
panel, oil paint 48,4 x 40,3 cm
Stamford, Burghley House, inv./cat.nr. Pic 129

This is a variant on bust-length figure studies such as Rembrandt’s painting formerly known as Man in a Gorget and a Plumed Cap of c. 1631 in Malibu (Related works, no. 1) [1]. It is probably a later imitation, rather than the work of a pupil or follower. It belongs to the 17th-century Dutch and Flemish genre known as the tronie, literally ‘face’,7 showing an (exaggerated) facial expression, a stock character in costume as here, or a genre painting in a portrait format. In the past it was thought to be a portrait of Rembrandt’s father, as most elderly men in his paintings were, just as old women were thought to be his mother.8 The possibility that it was Rembrandt’s father is not ruled out by the fact that the same model was used by other artists in his circle – by Gerard Dou in a picture in Kassel (Related works, no. 3) [3] and by a follower of Dou in a picture in Burghley House (Related works, no. 4) [4]. The sitters in the Rembrandt in Malibu and in the Dou more or less face the viewer and look slightly to the left. The heads of Rembrandt’s Old Man with a Gold Chain in Chicago (Related works, no. 2) [2] and of the man painted by the follower of Dou are both turned to the right and they are looking to the right, as is the man in DPG628. All have a metal gorget around their neck. There is also a strong similarity with the Man in Eastern Costume in Rotterdam, attributed to Jacques des Rousseaux (c. 1600–1636/8), another pupil of Rembrandt (Related works, no. 5) [5].9 The sitter there is looking directly at the viewer.

Jacques des Rousseaux
Man in eastern costume, dated 1635
panel, oil paint 76,2 x 57,2 cm
center right : JDR / Aº 1635
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv./cat.nr. 1737


1 ‘A painting in oils on metal “Man in Armour” supposed to be by Gerard Dou, but attributed by Sir Kenneth Clark and the National Gallery to some well-known pupil of that School’.

2 RKD, no. 12739: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/12739 (Feb. 17, 2019); see also http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/673/rembrandt-harmensz-van-rijn-an-old-man-in-military-costume-dutch-about-1630-1631/ (June 21, 2020); Manuth, De Winkel & Van Leeuwen 2019, pp. 64, 683, no. 277; Van de Wetering 2017, i, p. 115 (fig. 56), ii, p. 509, no. 56; Bruyn 1982, pp. 416–23, B 4.

3 RKD, no. 36167: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/36167 (Feb. 17, 2019); see also https://www.artic.edu/artworks/95998/old-man-with-a-gold-chain (June 21, 2020); Bruyn 1982, pp. 391–7, A 42.

4 RKD, no. 219192: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/219192 (Feb. 17, 2019); Vogelaar & Korevaar 2005, pp. 144, 146–8, no. 31 (the pair with an old woman is no. 32); Schnackenburg 1996a, i, p. 104, GK 257 (the pair is GK 258), ii, fig. 126 (both paintings). For the pair see RKD, no. 219193: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/219193 (June 26, 2020).

5 RKD, no. 293671: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/293671 (June 26, 2020); Vogelaar & Korevaar 2005, pp. 146–8, no. 34; its pair is in the same collection, Old Woman with a Fur Collar (Pic. 125), which is no. 33 in the same publication.

6 RKD, no. 4812: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/4812 (Feb. 17, 2019); Sumowski 1983–94, iv (c. 1989), p. 2506, no. 1679; Giltaij & Jansen 1988, pp. 74–5, no. 23; Bruyn 1982, pp. 420–21 (as P. Quast), under B 4.

7 On tronies see e.g. Gottwald 2011, Hirschfelder 2008 and Van der Veen 1997.

8 The subject of family members depicted in pictures by Rembrandt and his circle is dealt with by Vogelaar & Korevaar 2005.

9 For Des Rousseaux see also DPG401, Leiden School, 1630s/Circle of Jan Lievens or Jacques des Rousseaux.

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