Portrait of a Man Holding a Black Hat
This elegant likeness is in many ways unusual among the artist’s portraits. Unlike his depictions of conservative Amsterdam merchants from the earlier 1630s such as Portrait of Dirck Jansz. Pesser (no. 10), here Rembrandt lavished attention on the rich taffeta costume, with its sharp brocade trim and complex sheen. The intricate texture of the sleeve contrasts with the thickly painted collar and its artfully curled lace edge. Adopting a pose that shows the sitter’s expensive accoutrements, Rembrandt revealed his familiarity with the innovations of his Italian Renaissance predecessor Titian while flattering his aristocratic or perhaps foreign sitter. The sense of movement recalls Rembrandt’s Portrait of Marten Looten (no. 9). Typically for this period of the artist’s career, strong light illuminates the man’s right cheek, which is rendered with fine strokes in a yellowish tone, while different shades of pale gray are used for the whites of the eyes.
Portrait of a Man Holding a Black Hat, about 1637. Oil on panel, 31 5/16 x 27 5/16 in. (79.5 x 69.4 cm). The Armand Hammer Collection, Gift of the Armand Hammer Foundation. Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, AH.90.59