Norton Simon Museum
Portrait of a Bearded Man in a Wide-Brimmed Hat
The strong sculptural effect and tight brushwork evident in this likeness are characteristic of Rembrandt’s early Amsterdam portraits, including Dirck Jansz. Pesser (no. 10). Intense light from the upper left creates a dramatic contrast between the two sides of his face and throws a shadow on the wall behind him. The light, which just catches the brim of his hat, brilliantly illuminates the folds of his white ruff, created with gray and taupe tones, but reveals little about his clothing. Certain key features—such as the subtle balance between the slightly turned position of the sitter and the volumes of hat and ruff—were important conventions Rembrandt used to create forceful likenesses in the 1630s. This portrait, possibly of the Mennonite merchant Pieter Sijen (about 1592–1652), was probably completed in late 1633 before the pendant of the sitter’s wife, Portrait of a Forty-Year-Old Woman, Possibly Marretje Cornelisdr. van Grotewal, which is dated 1634 (now in the Speed Art Museum, Louisville).
Portrait of a Bearded Man in a Wide-Brimmed Hat, 1633. Oil on panel, 27 1/2 x 21 1/2 in. (69.9 x 54.6 cm). Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena, M.1977.31.P