Pennsylvania museum's disputed portrait is a Rembrandt, research says

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A small Pennsylvania museum has declared that a 17th-century portrait, long considered the work of someone in Rembrandt's studio, is in fact by the Dutch master himself.

After sending the painting away for routine restoration, the Allentown Art Museum said that advanced imaging and conservation techniques had unveiled "clear evidence" that the artwork is a genuine masterpiece.

Created in 1632, "Portrait of a Young Woman" depicts a young female subject who is pictured in a number of Rembrandt's other paintings. When it was acquired by the museum in 1961, the oil-on-wood painting was widely believed to be an original.

But in the 1970s, the Rembrandt Research Project, a Dutch organization established to investigate attribution claims, dismissed the portrait as likely being the work an assistant or student.

Earlier X-ray analyses had led some historians to question the authenticity of the brushwork on the subject's face. The apparent lack of clarity in her clothing further fueled doubts, while additional concerns were raised over the artist's signature, which is painted differently from those found in many of his other works.

But after embarking on conservation efforts in 2018, experts noticed signs that it may be an original Rembrandt.

According to Shan Kuang, a conservator at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts who worked on the project, thick layers of varnish from a previous restoration had darkened over time, obscuring the brushstrokes and hiding the depth of appearance the artist was celebrated for.

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