Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
1606 Leiden Amsterdam 1669
Ephraim Bonus, Jewish physician 1647
etching, engraving, and drypoint; 240 x 177 mm.
Bartsch 278, White-Boon second (final) state; Hind 226; The New Hollstein 237 second (final) state
Hermann Weber, Bonn (Lugt 1383)
Ferdinand, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and King of Portugal (Lugt 968)
C.G. Boerner, Neue Lagerliste 54 (1974), no. 33 (our stock no. in pencil verso 8356)
private collection, Germany
Ephram Hezekiah Bueno (15991665), usually referred to by his Latinized name Bonus, was a physician and writer who came from a Sephardic-Jewish family. He was a renowned doctor and at the same time wrote poems in Spanish. He was also a supporter of Samuel Menasseh ben Israel who lived across the street from Rembrandt and might have introduced Bonus to the artist.
The imposing portrait print was executed in the same year as Rembrandt's prints of Jan Asselijn and Jan Six. All three have in common that they depict their sitters standing. What is exceptional with regards to Rembrandt's working process is that the print was neither based on a preliminary drawing nor was it executed directly on the plate. Instead, it was prepared by a small panel painting of identical size (Bredius 252; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).
This impression is mentioned in Lugt as one of the “meilleures pieces” sold in Hermann Weber’s sale (1856).