In case you’re concerned artificial intelligence is taking over the art world (the first AI-generated artwork recently sold for $432,000), then this latest discovery should put your mind at rest.
Proving that human artists can still pull in the big bucks, a piece by Rembrandt is expected to sell for more than $7 million.
Titled ‘Study of the Head of a Young Man,’ the small oil painting is just 10ft high. However, it’s impressive price is down to more than the creater’s impressive technique.
Hidden under the original layer of paint are thumbprints believed to belong to the Rembrandt’s. No other fingerprints from the legendary painter, printer and draughtsman have ever been found.
And while it is impossible to prove that the prints are Rembrandt’s, experts are convinced they are the “only known fingerprints of the Dutch master.”
The prints were discovered during a technical examination and restoration, which featured X-Ray and infra-red imaging as well as pigment analysis.
The work is being auctioned by Sotheby’s Old Master paintings, with their worldwide chairman George Gorman describing the discovery as “extroadinary.”
“You often get finger and thumbprints in the varnish of painting, but that doesn’t really tell you anything of interest,” he explained.
“This is in the original paint.
“This shows that Rembrandt was happy with the painting while it was still wet. He painted it very quickly.
“But what is certain is that it is somebody that picked up the painting as soon as it was finished.
“While as far as we know no comparable finger or thumbprints of Rembrandt have been found in other works to confirm the conclusion, the discovery of the marks in the original layer of paint…. make their connection to the artist highly credible.”
Gordon added that the painting, which dates from 1655, has a “spiritual and emotional impact.”
“We know he worked really quickly and you can also see and feel it in this painting,” he said.
“When Rembrandt applies thick layers of paint, some of the colour leaches through. It has an intense visceral quality and is astonishingly well preserved.
“I suspect people will now look for fingerprints in other paintings.”