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Under the Roman Sun: Landscape, Brigands, and the Late Grand Tour


Man with a Magnifying Glass

Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)

early 1660s
Oil on canvas
36 x 29 1/4 in. (91.4 x 74.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    The costume and pose of the man in this magnificent late work by Rembrandt were inspired by Raphael’s celebrated portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which Rembrandt studied when it appeared at auction in Amsterdam in 1639. The man who ran the auction was Pieter Haringh (1609–1685), who is very likely the sitter here; his features are known from a Rembrandt etching of 1655. The magnifying glass would have been used in evaluating jewelry, silver, paintings, and other luxury goods. The pendant portrait (14.40.622) shows his wife.

  • Catalogue Entry


  • Provenance

    d'Oultremont family (until 1875); comte Florent d'Oultremont, Brussels (1875–89; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 27, 1889, no. 7, for Fr 45,000 to Sedelmeyer for Kann); Maurice Kann, Paris (1889–d. 1906); his nephew, Edouard Kann (1906–9; sold with MMA 14.40.622 for $625,000 to Duveen); [Duveen, New York, 1909; sold for $262,980 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1909–d. 1913)

  • Exhibition History

    Brussels. location unknown. "Exposition néerlandaise," 1882, no catalogue? [see Bode 1883].

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 107A (as "Titus, the Son of Rembrandt ['The Man with a Magnifying Glass']," lent by Mr. B. Altman, New York).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of Rembrandt," January 21–?, 1942, no catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 15, 1970–February 15, 1971, not in catalogue.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dutch Couples: Pair Portraits by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries," January 23–March 5, 1973, no. 10 (with MMA 14.40.622).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 17.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

  • References

    Wilhelm [von] Bode. Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei. Braunschweig, 1883, pp. 531, 539, 560, no. 23, on the advice of Bredius, dates this painting and its pendant, "Woman with a Pink" (MMA 14.40.622), probably after 1660; in the catalogue, dates it about 1665; as in an exhibition in Brussels in 1882.

    Eugène Dutuit. Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt. Paris, 1885, pp. 50, 63, 70, no. 347, repeats Bode's dating [see Ref. 1883] of about 1665.

    Alfred von Wurzbach. Rembrandt-galerie. Stuttgart, 1886, text vol., no. 6.

    Catalogue de douze tableaux . . . provenant de la collection d'Oultremont. Hôtel Drouot, Paris. June 27, 1889, pp. 5–6, 15–16, no. 7, ill., identifies the sitter as Harrings, son of the jailor of the Amsterdam debtors' prison; comments that he is a military officer, judging from his costume.

    Émile Michel. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, and His Time. English ed. New York, 1894, pp. 182–84, 239, dates it and MMA 14.40.622 about 1666–68 in text, and 1662–65 in catalogue; finds the sitters similar in appearance to the couple in the Family Group (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig); notes that the male portrait is in the collection of Maurice Kann, and the female portrait in the collection of Rodolphe Kann.

    Illustrated Catalogue of 300 Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English Schools. Paris, 1898, p. 174, no. 155, ill. p. 175.

    Gustav Glück. "Die Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris." Die Graphischen Künste 23 (1900), p. 90.

    Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. 7, Paris, 1902, pp. 26-27, 132, 134, no. 535, pl. 535, dates the pendants about 1662–65, despite similarities to pictures of the late 1660s.

    Auguste Marguillier. "La collection de M. Rodolphe Kann." Les arts 2 (February 1903), p. 22.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt und seine Umgebung. Strasbourg, 1905, p. 56, identifies the sitters as Rembrandt's son, Titus, and his wife, Magdalena van Loo, stating that they are also represented in the so-called "Jewish Bride" (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).

    Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906, p. 405, ill. p. 373, dates it about 1662–65; disputes Valentiner's [see Ref. 1905] identification of the sitter as Titus.

    Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 3rd ed. Stuttgart, 1909, p. 564, ill. p. 482, identifies the sitters as Titus van Rijn and his wife Magdalena, stating that Bode has agreed; based on this identification, states that the portraits cannot have been painted 1662–65, as Titus was married in 1668.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909, vol. 1, p. 148, no. 107A, ill. opp. p. 148, as Titus; dates it about 1668.

    Joseph Breck. "L'art hollandais à l'exposition Hudson-Fulton à New York." L'art flamand & hollandais 13, no. 2 (1910), p. 53 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 17 (January 1910), p. 10].

    E[mil]. Waldmann. "Die Ausstellung Holländischer Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts in New York." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 4 (1910), pp. 75–76.

    "The Benjamin Altman Bequest." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 8 (November 1913), p. 236, ill. p. 234.

    Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. New York, 1914, pp. 9–10, no. 4, ill. opp. p. 8, as Titus van Rijn, painted just after 1668; states that he is holding a ring, not a magnifying glass, and notes that Rembrandt often depicted his sitters as older than they actually were.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "The Rembrandts of the Altman Collection: II." Art in America 2 (October 1914), pp. 395–96, fig. 2, as probably dating from the summer of 1668; states that Titus holds a ring.

    J. Goekoop-De Jongh. "De Man met het Vergrootglas, door Rembrandt." Feest-Bundel Dr. Abraham Bredius aangeboden den Achttienden April 1915. 1, 1915, pp. 53–60, identifies the sitter as Baruch Spinoza.

    C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 6, London, 1916, pp. 354–55, 398, no. 755, as painted about 1662–65.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt wiedergefundene Gemälde. Stuttgart, 1921, p. 128, states that Goekoop-De Jongh's identification of the sitter as Spinoza [see Ref. 1915] is untenable because Spinoza was not married.

    Alan Burroughs. "Rembrandts in the Metropolitan Museum." The Arts 4 (November 1923), p. 268, ill. p. 271.

    John C. van Dyke. Rembrandt and His School. New York, 1923, p. 41, calls this picture and its pendant "good shop portraits," stating that there is no reason to suppose that they portray Titus van Rijn and his wife.

    D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, pp. 139, 203, pl. CCCCXXXIII, states that "the man is not Titus, even if Titus sat for it"; dates it about 1662–65.

    François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), pp. 306–7, calls the pendants very late works, but questions whether they represent Titus and his wife, and whether they are therefore as late as Valentiner thinks [see Ref. 1914].

    Werner Weisbach. Rembrandt. Berlin, 1926, pp. 545, 593.

    Max Eisler. Der alte Rembrandt. Vienna, 1927, pp. 103–6, dates the portraits about 1668 and states that the female sitter is not necessarily the "partner" of the man.

    Gustav Glück. "Rembrandts Selbstbildnis aus dem Jahre 1652." Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, n.s., 2 (1928), p. 317 [reprinted in Aus drei Jahrhunderten Europäischer Malerei, Vienna, 1933, p. 346].

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 173, pl. 173, defends his identification of the sitter as Titus.

    O[tto]. Benesch in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. 29, Leipzig, 1935, p. 267.

    A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 14, no. 326, pl. 326, rejects the identification of the sitters as Titus and Magdalena van Loo but thinks the same couple is represented in the "Jewish Bride".

    Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 204, ill.

    Julius S. Held. "Rembrandt: The Self-Education of an Artist." Art News 40 (February 1–14, 1942), p. 28, ill. on cover (color detail).

    William M. Ivins Jr. "The Art of Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37 (January 1942), p. 3.

    Introduction by William M. Ivins Jr. The Unseen Rembrandt. New York, 1942, pls. 27–28 (overall and detail).

    Frits Lugt. "Rembrandt's 'Man with the Magnifying Glass': A New Identification." Art in America 30 (July 1942), pp. 174, 177–78, figs. 1, 3 (detail), and ill. on cover, based on similarities with an engraved self-portrait, identifies the sitter as Jan Lutma the Younger.

    Josephine L. Allen. "The Museum's Rembrandts." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (November 1945), p. 73.

    Franz Landsberger. Rembrandt, the Jews, and the Bible. Philadelphia, 1946, pp. 53–54, rejects the identification of the sitter as Spinoza, but notes that an identification of the sitter as Jan Lutma the Youger [see Ref. Lugt 1942] has been made "upon much better grounds".

    Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt. Cambridge, Mass., 1948, vol. 1, pp. 49, 203, 219 n. 10; vol. 2, pls. 75, 266 (detail).

    Theodore Rousseau Jr. "Rembrandt." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 11 (November 1952), p. 82.

    Margaretta M. Salinger. "Eight American Rembrandts." Connoisseur 138 (September 1956), p. 68, no. 2, ill. p. 70, discusses various identifications of the sitter, noting that Jan Lutma the Younger [see Ref. Lugt 1942] was never married; states that an identification of the sitters with those depicted in "The Jewish Bride" "seems cogent, though it attaches no names to the subjects".

    W. R. Valentiner. "Noch Einmal 'Die Judenbraut'." Festschrift Kurt Bauch. [Munich], 1957, pp. 230, 232–33, fig. 3, as Titus van Rijn and Magdalena van Loo.

    Jakob Rosenberg. Rembrandt: Life & Work. rev. ed. London, 1964, pp. 86, 322–23, figs. 75, 266 (detail).

    Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 23, pl. 447.

    Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann in Encyclopedia of World Art. 11, New York, 1966, col. 934.

    Jakob Rosenberg and Seymour Slive in Dutch Art and Architecture: 1600 to 1800. Baltimore, 1966, pp. 72, 270 n. 25.

    Horst Gerson. Rembrandt Paintings. Amsterdam, 1968, pp. 452, 504, no. 417, ill. p. 453.

    A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. 3rd ed. London, 1969, pp. 575, 582, no. 326, ill. p. 254.

    Bob Haak. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, His Time. New York, [1969], p. 326, fig. 547.

    Julius S. Held. Rembrandt's "Aristotle" and other Rembrandt Studies. Princeton, 1969, p. 9.

    Paolo Lecaldano in L'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, p. 124, no. 445, ill.

    Francis Haskell. "The Benjamin Altman Bequest." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), pp. 266, 279, fig. 6.

    Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, pp. 172–73 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].

    Jakob Rosenberg and Seymour Slive in Dutch Art and Architecture: 1600 to 1800. rev. ed. Harmondsworth, England, 1972, pp. 124, 433–34 n. 25.

    Josua Bruyn in "Round-Table Discussion: Problems of Attribution." Rembrandt After Three Hundred Years. Chicago, 1973, p. 47.

    Julián Gállego and Frédéric Mégret. "Le Siècle d'or en Hollande." La grande histoire de la peinture. 10, [Geneva], 1973, p. 22.

    Christopher Brown. "Rembrandt's 'Portrait of a Boy'." Connoisseur 193 (November 1976), p. 219 n. 4, states that the identification of the sitters as Titus van Rijn and Magdalena van Loo "has not found any support".

    John Walsh Jr. "Child's Play in Rembrandt's 'A Lady and Gentleman in Black'." Fenway Court (1976), p. 6.

    J. Bolten and H. Bolten-Rempt. The Hidden Rembrandt. Milan, 1977, p. 203, no. 568, ill.

    Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 344.

    Maryan W. Ainsworth et al. Art and Autoradiography: Insights into the Genesis of Paintings by Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Vermeer. New York, 1982, pp. 77, 82, 99 n. 57, pp. 100, 102, pls. 51–54 (overall, radiograph, and autoradiographs).

    Rüdiger Klessmann. Die holländischen Gemälde. Braunschweig, 1983, p. 169, under no. 238.

    Werner Sumowski. "Nachträge Ortsregister." Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. 5, Landau/Pfalz, 1983–[94?], p. 3367.

    Werner Sumowski. "Ch. Paudiss–Anonyme." Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. 4, Landau/Pfalz, 1983–[94?], p. 2617, under no. 1814.

    Gary Schwartz. Rembrandt, His Life, His Paintings. New York, 1985, p. 343, fig. 403 (color).

    Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 185.

    Christian Tümpel. Rembrandt: Mythos und Methode. Königstein, 1986, p. 414, no. 223, ill. p. 330 (color).

    Svetlana [L.] Alpers. Rembrandt's Enterprise: The Studio and the Market. Chicago, 1988, p. 85, fig. 3.65.

    Walter Liedtke. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and Their Ideals." Great Dutch Paintings from America. Exh. cat., Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1990, p. 48, fig. 36 (Altman gallery installation).

    David R. Smith. "Review of H. Perry Chapman, "Rembrandt's Self-Portraits"." Art Bulletin 72 (December 1990), p. 664.

    Pierre Cabanne. Rembrandt. [Paris], 1991, p. 153, no. 22, ill.

    Leonard J. Slatkes. Rembrandt: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1992, pp. 236–37, no. 144, ill. (color).

    Jaap van der Veen in "Essaybundel." De Wereld Binnen Handbereik: Nederlandse Kunst- en Rariteitenverzamelingen. Exh. cat., Amsterdams Historisch Museum. 1, Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1992, p. 247, fig. 13.

    J[osua]. Bruyn. "Werner Sumowski, 'Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler' IV en V." Oud Holland 109, no. 1/2 (1995), p. 105.

    Walter Liedtke in "Paintings, Drawings, and Prints: Art-Historical Perspectives." Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2, New York, [1995], pp. 81–86, 115–16, no. 17, ill. (color and black and white), dates the portraits about 1662, and identifies the sitters with a couple painted by Jan Victors in 1651 (Steinberg collection, New York).

    Seymour Slive. Dutch Painting 1600–1800. New Haven, 1995, pp. 87, 332 n. 31, fig. 107.

    Hubert von Sonnenburg. "Paintings: Problems and Issues." Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1, New York, 1995, pp. 16, 24–25, 31, 54, 58, 69–70, 79, figs. 10 (x-radiograph), 11 (autoradiograph), 70 (color detail), 71 (x-radiograph detail), 87, 88–90 (color details).

    Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Washington, 1995, p. 278 n. 1.

    B[en]. P. J. Broos in The Dictionary of Art. 26, New York, 1996, p. 169.

    Paul Broekhoff and Michiel Franken. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship." Simiolus 25, no. 1 (1997), p. 81.

    Christel Brückner. Rembrandt's Braunschweiger "Familienbild". Hildesheim, 1997, p. 12 n. 9, pp. 52–53.

    Christopher Wright. Rembrandt. Paris, 2000, p. 234, fig. 227 (color).

    Stephanie S. Dickey. "Rembrandt and Saskia: Art, Commerce, and the Poetics of Portraiture." Rethinking Rembrandt. Boston, 2002, p. 213 n. 43.

    Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, p. 363 n. 99.

    Meryle Secrest. Duveen: A Life in Art. New York, 2004, p. 477.

    Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, p. ix; vol. 2, pp. 549, 693–705, 754, 776, 910, no. 158, colorpl. 158, figs. 192, 197 (sixth autoradiograph), 199 (detail), calls the pendants "completely consistent with Rembrandt's work in the first half of the 1660s".

    Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 31–33, 35, 38, 70, figs. 32 (Altman gallery photograph), 40 (color, MMA Altman gallery photograph).

    Dagmar Hirschfelder. Tronie und Porträt in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 2008, pp. 127, 270, 289, 424, no. 459, fig. 17, pl. 98, dates the pendants about 1662.

    Marjorie E. Wieseman. "Rembrandt's Portrait(s?) of Frederik Rihel." National Gallery Technical Bulletin 31 (2010), pp. 99, 110 n. 11.

    George S. Keyes in Rembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, fig. 36 (color).

  • Notes

    This portrait is the pendant to "Woman with a Pink" (MMA 14.40.622).

    The sitters have been variously identified as Harrings, son of the jailor of the Amsterdam debtors' prison, and his wife [see Ref. d'Oultremont 1889]; Titus van Rijn and Magdalena van Loo [see Ref. Valentiner 1905]; Baruch Spinoza [see Ref. Goekoop-De Jongh 1915; Spinoza was, however, a bachelor]; Jan Lutma the Younger and his wife [see Ref. Lugt 1942]; the couple who appears in the Family Group (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig) [see Ref. Michel 1894]; and the couple who appears in the so-called "Jewish Bride" (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). Ref. Liedtke 1995 rejects all of these identifications but notes that the same sitters appear in pendant portraits of 1651 by Jan Victors (Steinberg collection, New York).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History