Wayne Franits, Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution (New Haven and London, 2004), 43.
Ernst van de Wetering “Rembrandt’s Oil Studies: New Light on an Old Problem,” in Rembrandt: Quest of a Genius, ed. Ernst van de Wetering (Exh. cat. Amsterdam, Museum Het Rembrandthuis; Berlin, Gemäldegalerie) (Zwolle, 2006), 178–207.
Rembrandt School, Study of a Head, ca. 1645, oil on panel, 19.5 × 15.5 cm, National Gallery, Oslo, inv. no. 1363, formerly Chr. Langaard collection; Rembrandt School, Head of an Old Man, oil on panel, 20.9 × 17.6 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, no. 476; Rembrandt School, Study of a Head, oil on panel, 21.5 × 18.5 cm, present location unknown, formerly Matsukata Collection, Tokyo; Rembrandt School, Study of a Head, oil on panel, 19.5 × 16.3 cm, present location unknown, formerly with art dealer Landry, Paris, 1952.
The museum attributes the work to Dou and, improbably, Rembrandt. Its landscape background draws heavily on the style of Hercules Seghers (1589/90–1633/38), whose work was owned by Rembrandt and would have been present in his studio. The theme is drawn from Matthew 13:44, and from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas 109.
Ian Tyers, dendrochronology report, November 2010; this source of oak became unavailable after 1650.
The characterization of the wood is based on Ian Tyers’s 2010 dendrochronology report.