Dutch artist Rembrandt painted hundreds of portraits and historical paintings when many of his peers were painting scenes of everyday life
His full name was Rembrandt van Rijn but he wanted to be a one-name artist as a tribute to his heroes Michelangelo and Raphael
He took stories from history, religion and even poetry and turned them into intense dramas such as Belshazzar's Feast.
Rembrandt made about 70 self portraits up until his death
Rembrandt was a master at contrasting light and dark. He used a technique called chiaroscuro. This is best seen in Night Watch
The painting was acquired by the National Trust in September 2010 as a gift from the estate of the late Lady Samuel of Wych Cross.
It was previously owned by the Princes of Liechtenstein.
Christine Slottvedd Kimbriel, the paintings conservator at HKI, said: "The self-portrait went through a series of investigate analyses to include close visual examination under magnification, infra-red reflectography, x-radiography, raking light photography and pigment and medium analysis.
"Careful cleaning and removal of several layers of aged and yellowed varnish which had been added to the painting much later, revealed the original colours and painting style beneath."
A close investigation of the artist's signature confirmed it was added "at the time of execution of the painting", the HKI concluded.
Confirmed as genuine and valued at £30 million pounds it hangs in a special exhibition at Buckland Abbey in Devon, former home of Captain Drake of Spanish Armada fame, and is stunning.
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williewhistler (16394) 2014-07-11 14:23
I see that you have been in our neck of the woods!
Despite the difficult light you have managed to expose this ever so well,the details of the portrait are all very sharp and clear.
A very interesting note complements the image. Well done.
Kind regards Les.