Russell Shorto's "Rembrandt in the Blood" in The New York Times

Shorto’s longform article has it all: unearthed Rembrandt paintings worth millions of dollars, a misunderstood aristocrat redeeming himself (or maybe not), and of course, merciless backbiting, double-dealing, and intrigue amongst the art world’s elite. The story begins with Jan Six XI, a middle-aged Amsterdam-based art dealer who’s made quite an incredible discovery. While perusing the Christie’s auction catalog in November 2016, Six discovers a portrait attributed to a painter in the “circle of Rembrandt” – but Six is convinced a mistake has been made, and that the painting was actually painted by the Dutch master himself. The story rockets forward from there, with the extra tantalizing revelation that the original Jan Six, for whom current-day Six is named, was not only a friend of Rembrandt, but has been forever captured in Rembrandt’s well-known Portrait of Jan Six.

— Clare Boerigter

The painting dated from somewhere between 1633 and 1635. The giveaway was the particular type of lace collar, which was the height of fashion in that brief span and then quickly went out of style. What especially excited Six was not just that Christie’s had failed to see that the painting was most likely from the hand of the master, but also that the auction house had labeled it “circle of Rembrandt” — i.e., from a follower. “You see the problem, right?” he asked me. I was puzzling for the solution to the riddle when he blurted it out: “Rembrandt wasn’t famous yet in the early 1630s, so there was no circle. I knew right away Christie’s had screwed up.”