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Rembrandt painted himself wearing that hat. AP
NOT FOR SALE

This selfie is worth €37 million*

*Okay, we’re sick of selfies too, but this one is worth serious cash.

A POTRAIT OF Dutch master Rembrandt long thought to be painted by one of his students was actually painted by him, giving it an estimated value of €37 million.

Who exactly painted the 17th century portrait has been the subject of debate for decades, but scientific tests have now confirmed that it will be added to the canon of self-portraits with which is is most closely associated.

The painting was donated to Britain’s National Trust by the estate of Edna, Lady Samuel of Wych Cross, whose property-developer husband was a major collector of Dutch and Flemish art.

The portrait of the artist, wearing a cap with a white feather, was long thought to be the work of one of Rembrandt’s pupils and was credited as in the “style of” the 17th-century Dutch artist.

But last year Ernst van de Wetering, the world’s leading Rembrandt expert, declared it genuine. The National Trust said tests on the paint, the signature and the wooden panel all confirm the authenticity of the portrait, which was painted in 1635, when Rembrandt was 29.

Cambridge University experts analysed the cell structure of the wooden panel the portrait is painted on — poplar or willow, a type Rembrandt favored — and used X-rays to reveal changes to the composition over time, also typical of the artist.

Britain Rembrandt Britain's National Trust is not allowed to sell the painting. AP / Steven Haywood AP / Steven Haywood / Steven Haywood

The pigments, including blue mineral azurite and blue cobalt, also were consistent with those used by Rembrandt.

“The varnish was so yellow that it was difficult to see how beautifully the portrait had been painted,” said David Taylor, paintings and sculpture curator at the National Trust.”Now you can really see all the flesh tones and other colors, as well as the way in which the paint has been handled — it’s now much easier to appreciate it as a Rembrandt.”

The painting hangs in Buckland Abbey in southwest England, the former home of 16th-century seafarer Francis Drake. It has been valued at as much as €37 million but the trust, whose mandate is to safeguard Britain’s heritage, is not allowed to sell it.

Read: Scientists have grown a replica of Van Gogh’s severed ear, and it’s alive >

Read: Here’s President Higgins looking quite pleased with a new painting he was given >

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Author
Associated Foreign Press
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