A Young man, perhaps the Artist's Son Titus
Despite some doubts in the past, recent scholarly opinion has favoured the attribution of this sensitive and subtly lit portrait to Rembrandt. The broad brushstrokes and impasto paint indicates this is from his late style of the 1660s. When Bourgeois bought the work in 1807 the sitter was thought to be the artist Philips Wouwerman but, born in 1619, he would have been in his forties at the time this was painted, not the age of the young man depicted here. The sitter has since been identified as Rembrandt’s only son Titus, but the presence of the books just discernable in the background, makes it more likely that this is a portrait of a scholar.
Fragments of a signature and date were found during cleaning in 1949–53 but have long since disappeared. While the head is in a very good condition, the rest of the figure, especially his coat, is badly abraded.
The portrait was highly esteemed by a visitor to the Gallery in 1824 who commented, "Nothing can be richer than the colouring, more forcible and masterly than the handling, and more consistent and individualised than the character of the face. It is one of those portraits of which it is common to say - 'that must be a likeness'."