The Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in the north-central German city of Braunschweig announced Tuesday that an unusual drawing of a dog by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was discovered during a systematic digitization of the museum's 10,000 drawings. The discovery of the work's true author has been described as "a sensation".
Known as "the Braunschweig terrier," the image is believed to date from around 1637; it has been in the museum's collection since 1770.
Professor Thomas Doring, the museum's curator of prints and drawings described the discovery:
"It's been on display for decades under the name of Johann Melchior Roos, so the idea that this could be a Rembrandt was never considered before. But the boldness of the strokes, the variations in the shading from very gentle to quite violent and the expressive gaze [of the dog] -- these are very typical idiosyncrasies of Rembrandt's work."
Experts made comparisons, including microscopic analyses, with other Rembrandt originals in Amsterdam, Paris and Vienna to confirm that the chalk drawing came from the world-renowned Dutch master's hand. Three leading scholars of Rembrandt's drawings told they were fully convinced that this is a Rembrandt.
"It's extremely rare for all of the experts in a field to agree on an issue as controversial as this," said Doring.
It is noted that the discovery is really unusual as there exist only few drawings of animals by Rembrandt worldwide. The artist created them as studies for works that, particularly in the 1630s, depicted dogs as secondary motifs.
According to a statement released by the museum, "the Braunschweig terrier" is very similar to the barking, jumping dog in Rembrandt's 1642 painting "The Night Watch", the star attraction at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.
Rembrandt to go on show
The dog drawing, now with the correct artist's name attached, is to go back on display at the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum. Museum visitors can view the work starting from April 6 in the special exhibition entitled "Dürer, Cézanne and You. How Masters Draw"
The Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig has some 190,000 works in its collection
Based on CNN and DW materials