Exhibitions/ Art Object

Man with a Steel Gorget

Style of Rembrandt (Dutch, second or third quarter 17th century)
Oil on canvas
37 1/8 x 30 5/8 in. (94.3 x 77.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
Rembrandt's authorship was doubted as early as the 1920s. In subject and style the painting is typical of the master's immediate circle in the 1640s; attributions to Govert Flinck and to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, both of whom studied under Rembrandt in the 1630s, have been proposed in recent years. The dashing figure's gesture may have been adopted from that of the captain in The Night Watch of 1642.
Inscription: Inscribed (lower left): Rembrandt / f. 1644
Rt. Hon Admiral Lord Radstock, London (by 1822–d. 1825; his sale, Phillips, London, April 19, 1823, no. 66, as "Portrait of the Constable de Bourbon —from a sketch in the Montmorency Palace," by Rembrandt, for £346.10, bought in; his estate sale, Christie's, London, May 13, 1826, no. 23, as "Portrait of the Connétable de Bourbon," by Rembrandt, for £215.5 to Ailesbury); Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Marquess of Ailesbury (1826–d. 1856); his son, George William Frederick Brudenell-Bruce, 2nd Marquess of Ailesbury (1856–d. 1878); his brother, Ernest Augustus Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury (1878–81; sale, Christie's, London, June 18, 1881, no. 122, for £850.10 to Davis); E. Secrétan, Paris (by 1883–at least 1885); [Sedelmeyer, Paris]; Adolph Thiem, San Remo and Berlin (by 1894–at least 1900; bought for Fr 23,000?); [Gimpel & Wildenstein, Paris and New York, until 1905; sold for $120,000 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1905–d. 1913)
London. British Institution. 1822, no. 22 (as "Portrait of the Connetable de Bourbon: painted from a sketch in the Montmorency family," by Rembrandt, lent by Admiral Lord Radstock).

Berlin. Kunstgeschichtliche Gesellschaft. "Niederländische Kunst," 1890, no. 220 [see Hofstede de Groot 1916].

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 10, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 26.

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.


John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. Vol. 7, London, 1836, p. 109, no. 300, as "A Gentleman, styled 'Le Connétable de Bourbon," by Rembrandt, signed and dated 1644, and as exhibited at the British Gallery in 1821 [sic].

C. Vosmaer. Rembrandt, sa vie et ses ouevres. 2nd ed. The Hague, 1877, p. 536.

Wilhelm [von] Bode. Studien zur Geschichte der holländischen Malerei. Braunschweig, 1883, pp. 495, 598, no. 313, as having recently entered the Secrétan collection, Paris.

Eugène Dutuit. Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt. Paris, 1885, pp. 53, 63, 68, no. 306, as in the Secrétan collection.

Alfred von Wurzbach. Rembrandt-galerie. Stuttgart, 1886, text vol., no. 328.

George Redford. Art Sales. London, 1888, vol. 2, p. 318, as "Le Connetable de Bourbon" by Rembrandt, sold by Lady [sic for Lord?] Ailesbury to Davis for £850.10 in 1881.

Émile Michel. Rembrandt: His Life, His Work, and His Time. English ed. New York, 1894, vol. 1, p. 303; vol. 2, p. 243, as a portrait of a friend of the artist, comparing it with the figure of Banning Cocq in the "Night Watch" (1642; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam); states that it was bought at the Secrétan sale "by Mr. Thieme, who lent it to the Exhibition of Old Masters held at Berlin in 1890" [but this picture is not in cat. of the Secrétan sale].

Illustrated Catalogue of 300 Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English Schools. Paris, 1898, p. 150, no. 134, ill. p. 151, as engraved by Koepping; states that it was in the collection of Lady Aylesbury [Ailesbury] in 1881 and is now in the collection of Adolph Thiem in San Remo.

Malcolm Bell. Rembrandt van Rijn and His Work. London, 1899, pp. 77, 171, erroneously as in the collection of Alfred Thieme in Leipzig.

Wilhelm [von] Bode with the assistance of C. Hofstede de Groot. The Complete Work of Rembrandt. Vol. 4, Paris, 1900, p. 134, no. 271, pl. 271, as in the Thiem collection in San Remo, formerly in Berlin; calls the identification of the sitter as the connétable de Bourbon "wholly unaccountable"; lists it as exhibited at the British Gallery in 1821 and at Berlin in 1890 and 1896 [sic?]; gives the earlier provenance as Radstock collection, 1826, Lady Ailesbury collection, 1881, Sedelmeyer collection, and Secrétan collection.

Adolf Rosenberg. Rembrandt, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. Stuttgart, 1906, p. 400, ill. p. 213.

Adolf Rosenberg. The Work of Rembrandt. New York, 1909, p. 558, ill. p. 273.

Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. New York, 1914, p. 30, no. 20, states that Thiem paid Fr 23,000 for it in 1889.

F. Schmidt Degener. "Portretten door Rembrandt." Oud-Holland 32 (1914), pp. 221–23, ill. between pp. 220 and 221, as a portrait of Constantijn Huygens.

"The Altman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum, New York." Art and Progress 6 (January 1915), p. 79.

C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 6, London, 1916, p. 356, no. 758.

François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), p. 304.

John C. van Dyke. Rembrandt and His School. New York, 1923, pp. 159–60, as by an unknown pupil of Rembrandt.

D. S. Meldrum. Rembrandt's Paintings. London, 1923, p. 195, pl. CCXLI.

Alan Burroughs. "Rembrandts in the Metropolitan Museum." The Arts 4 (November 1923), p. 272, questions the attribution to Rembrandt.

Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Rembrandt Paintings in America. New York, 1931, unpaginated, no. 87, pl. 87, as "Portrait of Constantijn Huygens (?)" in catalogue entry and "Man with a Steel Gorget" in plate caption.

A[braham]. Bredius. Rembrandt Gemälde. Vienna, 1935, p. 10, no. 234, pl. 234.

Seymour Slive. Rembrandt and His Critics, 1630–1730. The Hague, 1953, p. 18.

Kurt Bauch. Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, 1966, p. 21, pl. 393.

"Museums: When Dutchmen Disagree." Time (April 12, 1968), p. 75.

"Museum Prepares to Disown a Few of Its Rembrandts." New York Times (March 25, 1968), p. 43.

Paolo Lecaldano in L'opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Milan, 1969, ill. p. 131, includes it among works of doubtful attribution.

Horst Gerson, ed. Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. By A[braham]. Bredius. 3rd ed. London, 1969, p. 567, no. 234, ill. p. 186, calls it an eighteenth-century imitation.

Francis Haskell. "The Benjamin Altman Bequest." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), p. 262.

J. Bolten and H. Bolten-Rempt. The Hidden Rembrandt. Milan, 1977, p. 190, no. 331, ill.

John Russell. "Art: Warehoused Old Masters in Met Exhibition." New York Times (June 20, 1986), p. C24, ill.

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. 49, fig. 36 (Altman gallery installation).

Walter Liedtke. "Some Paintings not by Rembrandt in the Metropolitan Museum." Rembrandt and His Pupils. Ed. Görel Cavalli-Björkman. Stockholm, 1993, pp. 125–28, 139 n. 16, figs. 4–5 (overall and radiograph detail), as by a follower of Rembrandt, about 1644–50, perhaps Gerbrand van den Eeckhout.

Walter Liedtke in Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, "Paintings, Drawings, and Prints: Art-Historical Perspectives."New York, [1995], pp. 23, 100–103, 147, no. 26, ill. (color), as by a follower of Rembrandt, suggesting a possible attribution to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout; tentatively dates it about 1645–50, and states that "whether this is a portrait or an imaginary subject is impossible to determine".

Hubert von Sonnenburg. Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Aspects of Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, "Paintings: Problems and Issues."New York, 1995, pp. 58, 114, no. 26, figs. 151 (color detail), 152, 153 (x-radiograph details), and ill. p. 115 (color), notes that the canvas was not initially rounded and that pigment analysis confirms a seventeenth-century date; rejects Liedtke's suggestion [see Refs. 1993 and 1995] that it might be by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, and instead tentatively attributes it to Govert Flinck.

William Grimes. "An Enigma Sometimes Wrapped in a Fake." New York Times (October 1, 1995), p. H34.

Important Old Master Paintings. Sotheby's, New York. January 11, 1996, under no. 145, fig. 1.

Thomas Ketelsen in Rembrandt, oder nicht? Exh. cat., Hamburger Kunsthalle. Vol. 2, "Die Gemälde."Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany, 2000, pp. 33, 40 n. 149.

Catherine B. Scallen. Rembrandt, Reputation, and the Practice of Connoisseurship. Amsterdam, 2004, p. 375 n. 49.

Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 31–32, 35, fig. 32 (Altman gallery photograph).

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 2, pp. 708, 719 n. 2, pp. 724–27, no. 166, colorpl. 166, states that "there is now general agreement that this . . . was painted by someone in Rembrandt's immediate circle between about 1645 and about 1650," noting that "the most plausible attributions have been to Govert Flinck and to Gerbrand van den Eeckhout".

George S. Keyes in Rembrandt in America: Collecting and Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. New York, 2011, pp. 73–74, 84 n. 41.

Old Master & British Paintings: Evening Sale. Christie's, London. December 3, 2013, pp. 58, 60, fig. 1 (color), under no. 16.

Engraved by Charles Koepping (see Sedelmeyer 1898).
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