This is one of a group of studies from life made by Rembrandt in the late 1650s. The last digit of the date is almost illegible, but may be a '7'. The painting falls into the category of 'tronies' (literally, heads). Although the artist most certainly used a model, the identity of the sitter is irrelevant. These works were intended as character studies, or as representations of a person in a particular role. In the 17th century, collectors appreciated them for the portrayal of particular facial expressions and for the illusionistic rendering of different surface textures.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN