The Teenage Rembrandt Revealed
Leading scholar believes that the 16-year-old artist features in a Lievens painting
AMSTERDAM / July 1, 2009 — The earliest depiction of Rembrandt has been identified in a painting by his colleague, Jan Lievens. American art historian Dr. Arthur Wheelock, of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, says that Rembrandt is the central figure in The Cardplayers, 1623-24, when Rembrandt was aged 16.
The painting (shown above), owned by a private collector, is currently on show in a Lievens exhibition at the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam until August 9. Rembrandt and Lievens studied together in Amsterdam under Pieter Lastman.
Dr. Wheelock is convinced that Rembrandt was the model for the jovial central figure wearing a blue cloak. The figure is similar to Lievens’ later Portrait of Rembrandt of 1629 (on loan to the Rijksmuseum from a private collection). The closest Rembrandt self-portrait to the image in The Cardplayers is one of 1629-30, Self Portrait in a Gorget (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg). The figure in the Lievens painting is a jaunty young man, relishing the fate of the loser in the game.