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The Cover
January 18, 2012

The Philosopher

JAMA. 2012;307(3):233. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1892

The mantle of wisdom accrued with every passing decade settles differently on each individual. Some carry this with grace, softened facial lines, and gentle humor; others wear every morsel of hard-earned knowledge on their faces and in their wearied demeanors. The Philosopher (cover) typifies a portrait that resounds with its subject's character: it is without doubt that this man possesses great cognitive ability, depth of compassion, and a comprehensive understanding of the human struggle. The sitter—whose identity remains unknown—appears to emerge from the painting, ready with a piece of advice or wise counsel for his current audience. Painted around the middle of the 17th century, from the Dutch school, The Philosopher was originally attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn. However, like research conducted about other similar works of that era (JAMA cover, May 6, 2009), modern scholarship has revealed that this painting was most likely painted by a member of Rembrandt's workshop and one of his prominent disciples, Willem Drost (1633-1659).

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