The Portrait of Nicolaes Ruts by Rembrandt van Rijn is a 1631 painting that has become one of the artist’s most significant works. Measuring 46 x 34 in, it is an oil painting on mahogany panel and depicts fur trader Nicolaes Ruts. The painting is housed at the Frick Collection in New York.
Ruts was from Amsterdam and traded furs with Russia, which may have been the source of his luxurious clothing when posing for the portrait. It was commissioned by a non-relative, making it the first turning point for Rembrandt’s career in portrait painting. It is considered a masterpiece not just because of its subject but also due to the artist’s technical skillfulness. Fine and smooth brushwork produced an even surface, particularly in the fur and fabric areas.
As an Amsterdam Mennonite merchant who frequently traded with Arkhangelsk, Russia’s colony – this early work by Rembrandt caught everyone’s attention because of its style as it differs from other portraits that he produced later on. Art enthusiasts compare this portrait to his “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr.Nicolaes Tulp” probably due to both paintings showing men named Nicolaes and painted roughly about three years apart.