Although traditionally identified as Rembrandt's pupil Ferdinand Bol (who might easily have collaborated in the studio practice of modelling for a tronie), subsequent research by the former keeper of the Amsterdam Print Cabinet in the Rijksmueum, Mrs. D. de Hoop-Scheffer, has demonstrated that the sitter is Petrus Sylvius. He was the son of Saskia's guardian, the Reformed preacher Jan Cornelius Sylvius who conducted the marriage ceremony between Rembrandt and Saskia, and whom Rembrandt etched on two occasions (Bartsch 266 and 284). Like his father, Petrus became a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and one might conjecture that Rembrandt made the portrait to celebrate this occasion. Studies of paper used by Rembrandt has revealed that there were two distinct editions of this print - the first in 1637, and a later edition dating from about 1653. Further research has shown that the young preacher died in 1653, and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that this second edition was in some way connected to this sad occasion.
Reproduced actual size.