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Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery William Hunter Collections:
GLAHA 43779

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GLAHM 43779: 'Old Man at Study' - click to view larger image

"Old Man at Study"

oil painting

CRE PLUYM, Carel van der; (Dutch; 1627-1677) ATTR REMBRANDT, Harmensz van Rijn; (Dutch; 1606-1669) ATTR KONINCK, Salomon; (Dutch; 1609-1656)

oil on canvas
51.7 x 42.2
68.5 x 58.2
Before cleaning, there was a signature "R 1639" painted over the varnish (photograph in file)
1599a, p.2366 SUMOWSKI, Werner 1989 Gemalde der Rembrandt-Schuler, IV, Ch. Paudiss - Anonyme, Edition PVA, 1989
One of four paintings from the founder, Dr. Hunter's collection which were attributed to Rembrandt. Pluym was a younger Leiden artist, and a cousin, in fact, of Rembrandt on his mother's side. Leiden guild records show that Pluym was President (Hoofdman) in 1652, and Dean (Dekon) in 1654/5. His earliest dated work is from 1648, and his small oeuvre does not extend beyond 1659. There are no records of his painterly relationship with Rembrandt, although he bequeathed money to Rembrandt's son Titus, and he painted a Rembrandt model called Adriaen Van Rijn in 1650-5. Before cleaning in 1913, the painting bore a signature and date 'R 1639'. This allows us to speculate that the painting is the work catalogued as 'Rembrandt's' A Philosopher in his Study, in one of Mr Blackwood's sales at Langford's, in which another suspicious 'Rembrandt' painting is listed that matches Hunter's Portrait of a Lady (GLAHA 43786). From September 1749, Hunter lived in Covent Garden, only yards from Langford's saleroom, and he may have known the dealer John Blackwood whose daughter Mary was married to Thomas (1721-1780) Desaguliers, who was the son of the Newtonian physicist, John Theophilus Desaguliers (1683-1744), whose lectures Hunter had attended. The painting was recognised as a Pluym, by Sumowski in 1989. The subject of a learned man pondering the meaning of a text that stands open on his writing table, was certainly characteristic of the master. The composition is very close to the black chalk drawing in the Louvre of a Scholar Pondering Beside his Writing Table (O.Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, London,1954, cat. 46), a drawing that has also been attributed to a pupil of Rembrandt, Gerard Dou.

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