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.