Rembrandt Self-Portrait Worth £30m Is Verified
A self-portait worth an estimated £30m has finally been verified as a Rembrandt.
Many experts have doubted the authenticity of the work for decades, but eight months of scientific analysis has now confirmed it was painted by the Old Master.
The painting was given to the National Trust by the estate of Lady Samuel of Wych Cross in 2010, when it was believed it was the work of one of his pupils.
It was sent off to be tested after specialist Professor Ernst van de Wetering said he believed the half-length portrait was genuine.
Technicians at the Hamilton Kerr Institute (HKI) in Cambridgeshire removed several layers of aged and yellowed varnish and analysed the artist's signature.
Painting conservator Christine Slottvedd Kimbriel said: "The signature and date of 1635, inscribed both on the front and back of the panel, had been considered problematic in previous assessments as it was thought that the style and composition was much more akin to the artist's style slightly later in his career.
"But the cross-section analysis left no reason to doubt that the inscription was added at the time of execution of the painting."
David Taylor, paintings and sculpture curator at the National Trust, said: "The varnish was so yellow that it was difficult to see how beautifully the portrait had been painted.
"Now you can really see all the flesh tones and other colours, as well as the way in which the paint has been handled - it's now much easier to appreciate it as a Rembrandt."
The 1635 painting shows Rembrandt, who would have been 29 years old at the time, wearing a black cloak, a feathered bonnet and a metal band around his neck from a suit of armour.
Prof Van de Wetering, the world's leading Rembrandt expert, said: "With all this additional scientific evidence, I am satisfied it is by Rembrandt."
The painting will go on display at Rembrandt Revealed, at Buckland Abbey in Devon, on June 13.