Old Man with a Gold Chain Rembrandt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Art Institute of Chicago holds this lesser known portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn from around 1631

This elderly man holds a display of subtle wealth in this portrait which is highly typical of his work during the 1640s. The facial features of the aging offered Rembrandt an opportunity to display his stunning technical skills with regards lighting and also a supreme realism relatively unseen previously.

His model, whom he used on several occasions, is dressed with a gold chain, steel gorget and plumed beret which was ideal for quickly putting together a feeling of wealth, without complex dresses or adornments as seen in some of his other portraits.

The artwork itself is large, considering the half-length portraits that it depicts, it can be considered around life-size. The model's hands are carefully tidied away under sleeves which are designed to blend with the torso. A small amount of light allows us to pick out the stomach line, but all attention is meant to be on his face and reflective adornmnents.

The Art Institute of Chicago contains significant work by other famous artists including Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, Grant Wood's American Gothic, Mary Cassatt's The Child's Bath plus other contributions by Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte and Pierre-Auguste Renoir to name just a few. It ranks as amongst the most important art institutions within the state.