The curved stairs of which we can see from above and below also demonstrates the wide skills of this artist whose career would produce landscapes, architectural pieces and portraits at a high level.
The balance of light, sometimes refered to as the technique of chiaroscuro, was particularly respected in France during the 17th and 18th centuries which explains why it was purchased for the French Royal Collection and would later be displayed at the Louvre in Paris. It remains there today.
Whilst being one of Rembrandt's lesser known pieces, and even sometimes linked to other artists, there is a beautful balance to the composition here as the stairs curl across the height of the canvas and the philosopher sits quietly in deep reflection.
Much discussion has already sought to reject the title for the reason that there are no clear items of evidence to show that the figure is indeed a philosopher. The book that sits on his desk maybe a bible but again, this could symbolise all manner of things.
The painting would later be sold alongside a similar work which itself had many more symbolic references to philosophy, namely books, a globe and a crucifix. The two would be sold together, thus allowing our painting here to be misinterpreted as being along the same theme.