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Portrait of a Boy, 1655-60

Rembrandt van Rijn

Dutch, 1606-1669
Oil on canvas
25-1/2 x 22 in. (64.8 x 55.9 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1965.2.P
© 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.

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