Man with a Magnifying Glass

Artist: Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch, Leiden 1606–1669 Amsterdam)

Date: early 1660s

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 36 x 29 1/4 in. (91.4 x 74.3 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913

Accession Number: 14.40.621


The costume and pose of the man in this magnificent late work by Rembrandt were inspired by Raphael’s celebrated portrait of Baldassare Castiglione (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which Rembrandt studied when it appeared at auction in Amsterdam in 1639. The man who ran the auction was Pieter Haringh (1609–1685), who is very likely the sitter here; his features are known from a Rembrandt etching of 1655. The magnifying glass would have been used in evaluating jewelry, silver, paintings, and other luxury goods. The pendant portrait (14.40.622) shows his wife.