A 17th century self-portrait has been verified as an authentic Rembrandt after decades of doubt.

The 1635 painting depicts the artist looking out at the viewer while wearing a black cloak, a feathered bonnet and a metal band around his neck from a suit of armour.

Its authenticity has been queried for nearly 50 years, doubters believing some areas of the painting were not accomplished enough to be by Rembrandt.

Months of scientific analysis by the British National Trust, including examination under magnification, infra-red reflectography, x-rays, and pigment and medium analysis, have verified that it is a self-portrait, and that the less accomplished elements were added later during preservation.


The newly authenticated painting, thought to be worth 30 million ($59.3 million), will go on display as part of the Rembrandt Revealed exhibition, at Buckland Abbey in Devon, on Friday.

Experts at the Hamilton Kerr Institute in Cambridgeshire removed layers of aged and yellowed varnish and analysed the artist's signature.

Painting conservator Christine Slottvedd Kimbriel said: "What was revealed was a true depth of colour, much more detail and a three-dimensional appearance to the fabric in Rembrandt's cloak."