For the close working relationship between Rembrandt, Lievens, and Dou, see Ronni Baer, “The Life and Art of Gerrit Dou,” in Ronni Baer, Gerrit Dou, 1613–1675: Master Painter in the Age of Rembrandt, ed. Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. (Exh. cat. Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art; London, Dulwich Picture Gallery; The Hague, Royal Cabinet of Paintings Mauritshuis) (New Haven, 2000), 28–30. Painted works by Dou in which the same model appears, other than Astronomer (Heraclitus?), include The Tooth-Puller, ca. 1630–35 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), and Old Man Lighting a Pipe, ca. 1635 (private collection, England). Examples in which this figure appears in etchings by Lievens include Bust of an Old Man (Hollstein Dutch 51-2(2); Rijksprentenkabinet, RP-P-OB-12.577) and Bust of an Old man in a Fur Cap (Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, RP-P-OB-12.557), both ca. 1631.
My thanks to Dominique Surh for drawing my attention to the similarity of Lievens’s painting in Dublin and Elderly Man.
Emile Michel, “La Jeunesse de Rembrandt, 3e article,” in Gazette des Beaux-Arts (August 1890): 159–60. For more on the early discussion about the identity of the male model, see A. M. Hind, “The Portraits of Rembrandt’s Father,” in The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 8, no. 36 (March 1906): 426–27, 430–31.
The inventory number of the drawing in the Ashmolean Museum is: WA1855.11. Rembrandt’s father, Harmen Gerritsz van Ryn (ca. 1568–1630), was a malt miller in Leiden. Peter Schatborn has argued that the old man in the Ashmolean drawing is indeed Rembrandt’s father because the ink used in the drawing is also used for the inscription. See Christiaan Vogelaar and Gerbrand Korevaar, Rembrandt’s Mother: Myth and Reality (Zwolle, 2005), 189–90, no. 59. The inscription is deemed contemporary with the drawing, which means that Rembrandt did leave us a drawn portrait of his father. The same old man with the bulbous nose appears as Man Trimming a Quill, ca. 1627–28, by Jan Lievens (formerly Kisters Collection, Kreuzlingen). See Vogelaar and Korevaar, Rembrandt’s Mother, 150, fig. 108.
“…de Coster van het Gasthuys met een Dootshooft inden arm.” See: R. E. O. Ekkart and M. L. Wurfbain, eds., Geschildert tot Leyden anno 1626 (Exh. cat. Leiden, Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal) (Leiden, 1976), 18; also Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered (Exh. cat. Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art; Amsterdam, Museum Het Rembrandthuis; Milwaukee Art Museum) (New Haven, 2008), 124–25, no. 122, repro. In pose and use of the same model, Lievens’s Old Man Holding a Skull seems directly related to his etching Bust of an Old Man (Hollstein Dutch 51-2(2); Rijksprentenkabinet, RP-P-OB-12.577) mentioned above.
For Van Heussen as rentmeester, see the inventory of the Sint Catharinagasthuys, Regionaal Archief Leiden, Gasthuizen, arch. 504, inv. I.1.3.26 and 27. For his residency in the Rijn neighborhood, see RAL, arch. 501A, inv. 1318, 6 March 1631. The mill of Rembrandt’s father, the Pelicaen (#108 on the Blaeu map), stood along the stretch of water listed as “Den Rijn” on Joan Blaeu’s detailed map of Leiden of 1649. This indicates that the patronym of both Harmen Gerritsz as well as Rembrandt came from the location of the family’s mill: both were “van den Rijn” (“from the Rijn”). In 1622, the Lievens family lived closer to the center of town, in the Pieterskerk Choorsteeg (#87 on the Blaeu map).
From at least 18 June 1580 to 15 November 1597, Jan Cornelisz van Heussen is identified as the Schout tot Noordwijk (sheriff ) in two notarial records in the Leiden city archives. The office of Schout would have been held by a well-respected member of the local elite. Noordwijk is a village 7.5 miles northwest of Leiden, Noordwijkerhout is a suburb of Noordwijk. Archief Leiden, nr. 0506, inv. 9, folio 150 (1580) and nr. 0506, inv. 61, folio 184v (1597).
Examples include Bust of an Old Man, 1630, in the Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck, and Study of an Old Man, 1630–31, in the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague, both by Rembrandt; and Jan Lievens’s Tric-Trac Players in an Inn, ca. 1624 (Spier Collection, Cape Town) and “Sultan Soliman”, ca. 1629–31 (Gemäldegalerie, Potsdam). For these works, see Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered (Exh. cat. Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art; Amsterdam, Museum Het Rembrandthuis; Milwaukee Art Museum) (New Haven, 2008), 86, fig. 2, and 118–19, no. 19.
According to Ian Tyers dendrochronology report dated November 2010.
According to Nancy Krieg’s private conservation treatment notes and discussions with Nancy Krieg’s former assistant Kirsten Younger, who treated this painting.