A man seated reading at a table in a lofty room – Artist Unknown

Sometimes I see things and they just amaze me.  This can be something really silly like perfect reflections in water, to something much more dramatic like great works of art (I know…shocking…who knew I was in to art!).

I know I have talked a fair bit this week about items I have seen in the National Gallery, and this one is no different.  There is no symbolism to this piece and no story, but I think it is beautiful.

Originally thought to have been painted by Rembrandt, it was later decided that this was more likely to be one of his early followers pieces, now dated to be painted around 1628-1630.

The contrast between light and dark in this picture is dramatic.  The attention to detail is astonishing, with the lead work on the widow being shadowed on the wall.  The man sat reading looks to be in relative darkness.  The scene looks so peaceful and the technique really highlights the spaciousness of the room.

So, how do they suddenly decide that this isn’t Rembrandt?  Well there are a few key things which has indicated that this probably wasn’t him.

The composition of the painting does not follow that of the style of Rembrandt.  Rembrandt painted scenes like this in his very early days, but the way in which the artist has concentrated on the light and perspective rather than the detail of the person, having him almost as a silhouette.

Thought to be a study of a scholar in Leiden, it was easy to see why it was thought to be an early Rembrandt as Leiden was where he worked his native years.

There is also a difference in draughtsmanship to the way in which Rembrandt worked, leading experts to declare that this was more likely to be a follower than the man himself.

I have to say, personally I don’t care that it wasn’t created by a master, no do I care that experts feel that this is heavy handed and almost clumsy in the way it has been created.  I think that the contrasts and subject show a natural and serene beauty which can often get overlooked.

What do you think of this painting?  Why not tell me in the comments?  Like this post?  Why not share it?


6 thoughts on “A man seated reading at a table in a lofty room – Artist Unknown

Add yours

  1. Oh, I do admire classic art. They are just deep, raw and super insightful. Modern art is just so.. Meh?
    I am definitely not an ‘art elitist’ (if that’s even a word) or a critic, but it’s just that I find the old classic art more intriguing. It’s so full of surprises and stuff. Modern art, on the other hand, almost appears like a child’s Lego board design. Repulsive, much?


    1. I can see where you are coming from, although there is some modern art that is just as astounding. If you’re looking at the pop culture art or lowbrow art form if can strike you a bit like a brightly coloured kaleidoscope… but that doesn’t mean it is without merit. There are some amazing artists working today (have a look through my blog or watch out for tomorrow’s post). But each to their own. The masters do have a status etched in history, which is why we may feel more inclined to look that the classics with a different eye. I do urge you to look at artists like Roberto Ferri who is alive and well yet paints like one of the masters with a modern twist. 😊 thanks for reading


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