An Old Man in an Armchair

An elderly man is portrayed seated, wearing a fur robe, and gazing downwards in contemplation. The composition and technique are reminiscent of Venetian portraiture, particularly that of Tintoretto.

At the time of purchase in 1957, this picture was accepted as by Rembrandt, but it was later attributed to an unknown contemporary follower of Rembrandt working in the 1650s because it differs in execution from Rembrandt’s portraits of the period. However, it is not a portrait but a character study, a type of painting that lends itself to experimentation far more than a formal portrait would. It has been convincingly proposed that as such it in fact represents an important experimental step in Rembrandt’s development towards the rough manner of his later works.

Key facts

Artist dates
1606 - 1669
Full title
An Old Man in an Armchair
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
111 x 88 cm
Acquisition credit
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Estate Duty and allocated to the National Gallery, 1957
Inventory number
Location in Gallery