Peter Schatborn has kindly confirmed the attribution to Rembrandt on studying the drawing in the original. Mr Schatborn writes:
'Although the drawing was formerly attributed to Gerard Dou, and was included by Werner Sumowski in his Drawings of the Rembrandt School with a hypothetical attribution to that Rembrandt pupil, the style shows so many characteristics of Rembrandt's chalk drawings of circa 1630 that an attribution to the master is in every respect justified.
Sumowski noted that "the treatment of the figure and the emphasis of the texture are definitely characteristic of the Leiden style." (W. Sumowski, loc. cit.). There are at least three comparable chalk drawings by Rembrandt, most notably the Scholar pondering beside his writing table in the Louvre which Benesch included in his catalogue raisonné (The Drawings of Rembrandt, I, London, 1973, no. 46, fig. 53), but which had earlier been attributed to Gerard Dou by Frits Lugt. It was no doubt for this reason that the present drawing was also wrongly attributed to Dou.
Other comparable black chalk drawings are the Standing man with a plumed hat in a private collection (O. Benesch, op.cit., no. 44, fig. 54) and the Beggar in a high cap in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (O. Benesch, op.cit., no.43, fig. 51). A drawing in red chalk of a Standing man with a cape and sword in the Hermitage also shows a very similar style.
The present drawing shares many of the characteristics of these drawings. The contours have mostly been lightly drawn in varying degrees, with darker accents in places. Rembrandt, aware of the fall of light, drew the contour of the hat in three different tones. Some other contours have been strengthened, for example the belt, and others improve the plasticity, as for example the small lines around the top of the shoulder, on his chest and his neck, at the right leg and foot, on the redrawn left foot and shoe, the zigzag edge of the coat and the little dark line on the cushion under his body. His left eye and mouth have also been accentuated with darker lines, while the other eye characteristically differs in being represented with a darker dot in the shade.
The figure has been covered with hatching, which is typical of the group of figure drawings from circa 1630. These hatchings run in different directions, determined by the forms they cover, and are partly parallel to the contours. In this way the plasticity of the figure has also been enhanced. Over the lighter hatching Rembrandt has accentuated the pleats and folds with darker areas of chalk. The hands, one in the shade, are anatomically imprecise, as is, for example, the ear, drawn with a dark dot in the middle of a more or less circular form, comparable with the ear of the Standing man with outstretched arms in Dresden (O. Benesch, op.cit., no. 12, fig. 13).
Notwithstanding the sketchiness with which the chair has been drawn, it looks stable, which has been achieved by some darker accents added for example under the legs. The light falls from the right onto the chair and the figure, casting a shadow against the wall, in a manner characteristic of Rembrandt.'
We are very grateful to Mr. Schatborn for preparing this note.