Old traces, read anew – ‘The Reading Hermit’ painting in the light of X-ray fluorescence
There exist several very similar looking versions of the painting ‘The Reading Hermit’, all allegedly painted by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (approx. in ∼1630 A.D., Leiden). The classification of Rembrandt's paintings, which were produced by Rembrandt himself, in his academy by his students and the ones being mere copies is a crucial and difficult task. We gathered background evidence and performed elemental analyses by non-destructive micro-X-ray fluorescence (micro-XRF) in order to elucidate the painting's provenance. Elemental distributions of Ca, Mn, Fe and Cu show that the painting was presumably changed during the painting process, which indicates, together with neutron autoradiography (NAR) investigations, that this version of ‘The Reading Hermit’ is not a copy.