Turns Out, Rembrandt Himself Painted This One

Experts say painting long attributed to a pupil is by the Dutch master himself
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2022 12:03 PM CDT
Rembrandt's 8th Landscape Is Confirmed
Experts say this 1638 painting, “Landscape with Arched Bridge,” long attributed to Govert Flinck, is actually from Rembrandt.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – A 1638 painting dubbed Landscape with Arched Bridge suddenly just became a lot more valuable. For the past three decades, the painting has been attributed to Govert Flinck, a student of 17th-century Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijn. But as the Guardian reports, it has just been confirmed to be by Rembrandt himself. In preparing the painting for an exhibition of landscape paintings at Berlin's Gemäldegalerie art museum, a curator ordered an X-ray. It showed a number of changes to the work, which lost its attribution to Rembrandt many years after the museum acquired it in 1924.

During the creation of the painting, a storm cloud was moved and the size of a hill was reduced, resulting in a more compact composition. Outside experts who analyzed the changes agreed that Rembrandt was the creator, seeing each change as "enhancing the masterful Rembrandt style of chiaroscuro—or contrasting light and shadow," per the Guardian. Adding to their confidence is a similar Rembrandt painting called Landscape with Stone Bridge, held at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum museum. In 1989, experts with the Rembrandt Research Project had concluded this was the painting that Flinck had essentially copied, per Artnet News.

But "you quite often get pairs of [similar] paintings," where the painter tries a new style or works to "optimize what he has already achieved," Gemäldegalerie Director Dagmar Hirschfeld tells the Guardian. That appears to be the case here as the analysis revealed Landscape with Arched Bridge was painted before the "more exact and translucent" Landscape with Stone Bridge, per the Guardian. Though the findings have yet to be published, the value of Landscape with Arched Bridge—now considered one of just eight Rembrandt landscapes—is expected to soar above $11 million. A museum rep notes this is "relevant only in the case of the painting being loaned to another exhibition." In other words, the painting is not for sale. (Read more Rembrandt stories.)

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