“The Polish Horseman”, Rembrandt – description of the painting

Today there are much more questions about this picture than answers, and the Polish Horseman remains the most controversial work of the master. Or maybe Rembrandt has nothing to do with it? …

Art historians have always questioned the authorship of Rembrandt, and the most popular hypothesis is the following: the painting was made by the best student of the great Dutchman Willem Drost. Despite the fact that an impressive evidence base was brought under this conjecture, the Polish Horseman is still listed in the legacy of Rembrandt and no one else.

It’s not clear what the master meant: did he really depict a real hero in a robe so unusual for the Netherlands, or again embarked on some theatricality (Rembrandt liked to dress his heroes in unusual costumes), however, researchers tend to see a man here, belonging to the Polish cavalry of the XVII century.

The coloristic solution is consistent with the style of the master – the predominance of brown and red tones, deliberate highlighting of the hero. The only alien element of the picture is the white horse of the rider. She looks somehow constrained and very unconvincing. Rembrandt always wrote very subtly and filigree.

Another interesting fact is that a year before the start of work on the canvas, a pamphlet appeared in Amsterdam that protects the radical sect of the socialians. What was the name of the pamphlet? Yes, yes, the Polish Horseman. Perhaps Rembrandt thus showed his sympathy for the sect?

Description of the picture:

Polish Horseman – Rembrandt. 1655. Oil on canvas, 115×135 cm Having been forgotten for almost one hundred and fifty years, the painting “The Polish Horseman” was suddenly opened in one thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven years – in the Polish town of Dzikuv, painting connoisseur Abraham Bredius bought a canvas with a white horse and rider in a characteristic Eastern European vestment. “Yes, this is the great Rembrandt van Rijn!” Exclaimed the art world. However, the newly discovered canvas immediately became the subject of heated debate.