Polish Horseman by Rembrandt Harmens Van Rhine

Polish Horseman by Rembrandt Harmens Van Rhine

The mysterious, romantic figure of the young rider caused more controversy than any other Rembrandt painting, whose controversial authorship is just one of the ambiguities associated with this work.

A hat and a caftan trimmed with fur seem Eastern European, but perhaps this is just another excursion into theatrical masquerade. If so, then the picture is related to Poland not according to the plot, but only because it was subsequently acquired by the Poles.

On the other hand, an intriguing fact: in 1654 in Amsterdam, a pamphlet was printed under the name “Polish Horseman” in defense of the

radical sect of socianians. There is much evidence that Rembrandt sometimes sympathized with sectarianism. Another mystery: a very unconvincingly depicted horse. It can be resolved by attributing the authorship of the picture to some student of Rembrandt, for example, William Drost. This was what the Commission of the Program decided, but its research brought on fire of criticism and in 1993 the Program stopped its work.

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