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.
London, Alfred Brod Gallery, Pictures for the collector: recent acquisitions, February-March 1957, no. 11, ill. on cover, as 'signed in full and dated'.
PROPERTY FROM THE DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION OF DRS. SAUL AND MARCIA COHEN
with D. Katz, Dieren, circa 1932.
Mrs. J.H. Bunschoten-Middelbeek; sale, Venduehuis der Notarissen, The Hague, 9-10 November 1954, lot 39 (1800 guilders to Nystad).
with Alfred Brod Limited, London, from whom acquired by the father of the present owner in 1958.