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Mystery painting discovered to be Rembrandt worth $30 million

March 18, 2013|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • A painting hanging in a British abbey discovered to be a Rembrandt self-portrait is estimated to be worth $30 million.
A painting hanging in a British abbey discovered to be a Rembrandt self-portrait… (Ben Birchall / Associated…)

A portrait of Rembrandt, long believed to be painted by one of his pupils, has been attributed to the 17th-century Dutch master.

The crude brushwork led researchers in 1968 to conclude that the painting, which features the artist’s signature and is dated 1635, was by one of Rembrandt’s students. But a recent investigation led by Ernst van de Wetering, the world's leading Rembrandt expert, found that the painting was indeed by Rembrandt.

"Over the past 45 years, we have gathered far more knowledge about Rembrandt's self-portraits and the fluctuations in his style," he said.

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The painting, now estimated to be worth $30 million, was donated in 2010 to Britain's National Trust by Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych Cross, the wife of a wealthy property-developer and major art collector. The piece hangs in Buckland Abbey in southwestern England, the former home of Sir Francis Drake.

“It’s amazing to think we might’ve had an actual Rembrandt hanging here on the walls at Buckland Abbey for the past couple of years,” said Jez McDermott, the abbey’s property manager. “Many of our visitors will have just passed by it, in what is sure to be a real contrast to the attention it is now going to receive.”

The painting, which depicts the artist at age 29 in a feather-filled cap, will remain at the 700-year-old abbey for another eight months before being sent off for further examination.

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