The J. Paul Getty Museum
An Old Man in Military Costume
Rembrandt painted many tronies (character studies from life) of aged men and women during his early career in Leiden before 1631. The striking effect of this unknown subject derives from the intensity of his gaze and fanciful costume, which includes a polished metal gorget (also used in no. 3) and a tall ostrich plume. Positioned low in the pictorial field, the head is illuminated by cool light from the upper left, creating dramatic contrast in the face and a sense of atmosphere in the neutral setting. Rembrandt sensitively delineated the attributes of age in the network of blurred wrinkles, sparse mustache and beard, and furrowed brow. The sideward glance of the man’s remarkable moist gray eyes, suggests he is listening attentively.
An Old Man in Military Costume, about 1630–31. Oil on panel, 25 7/8 x 20 3/8 in. (65.7 x 51.8 cm). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 78.PB.246