Well ensconced in the rich community of artists in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, Koninck began his training in 1621 with drawing lessons from David Colijns (circa 1582-after 1668) and went on to study with Claes Cornelisz. Moeyaert. By 1632, he had become a member of the Amsterdam Guild of St Luke. Although Koninck never studied with Rembrandt, he shared his interest in working in a limited palette, as well as in strong chiaroscuro. He also emulated Rembrandt in painting tronies, a popular type of picture in seventeenth-century Holland, in which figures are shown as heads or in bust-length format. Not commissioned as formal portraits, tronies were painted for the open market, and were intended as studies in expression or of unusual, sometimes exotic facial types. Probably based on a live model, the present tronie depicts an elderly man in historicized costume. He wears a long beard, velvet cap and fur collar suggestive of a scholar or philosopher. These elements, along with the sitter's wizened face, allowed Koninck the opportunity to capture fine detail and render a variety of textures, skills for which he was renowned. Koninck painted this work in a remarkably free manner, with beautiful wet-in-wet passages. Koninck’s Head of an old man, with Christie’s New York, 31 January 2013, lot 207 is based on the same model, as are four other paintings (see W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, III, Landau/Pfalz, 1983, nos. 1126, 1128-30).
Werner Sumowski (op.cit.) dates the picture, which has been recognized by Jan Kelch as a work by Koninck, to the late 1640s.