PICTURE CHOICE / Recognising the real thing: Eric Hebborn, the 'master faker' of Old Masters, on a re-attributed Rembrandt

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The Independent Culture
APPARENTLY this painting is no longer by Rembrandt. The scholars have done their work. But I'm still loyal to an old friend, and I look at it every time I'm in London. It contains all sorts of secrets that I haven't learned yet.

It has a wonderful aura of light in the background, which for any painter seems an absolute marvel. The way Rembrandt has used the heavy impasto to create light is astonishing. He taught Carel Fabritius to paint light like this, and Fabritius was Vermeer's master. I don't think Chardin could have painted in the way he did either without knowing about this legacy. So you see, this could be a very important painting for the history of art.

It's an interesting picture from another point of view. In the 1930s it was studied by a man called Lowry, who was the chemist at the Royal Academy. He took micro-photographs of the brushwork and compared it to that of other Rembrandts. By doing so he discovered that the artist's Woman Bathing has exactly the same impasto marks as those here. Perhaps modern scholars haven't considered that evidence.

I have made 'Rembrandts' myself, but always drawings rather than paintings. Some are still in museums, but I'm not saying where. The experts will have to work that one out for themselves.

Eric Hebborn is a painter and draughtsman. He has made many pictures in the manner of the Old Masters, including Piranesi, Bruegel, Rembrandt and Poussin. His work is on show at the Julian Hartnoll Gallery, 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1 until 23 October. His autobiography 'Master Faker, the Forging of an Artist' is published by Pan Books (pounds 9.99).

(Photograph omitted)

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