Early self-portrait of Rembrandt

The Self-Portrait of Rembrandt is a timeless masterpiece from the Dutch Golden Age. 

It was painted in 1628 when Rembrandt Van Rijn was only 21. 

It preserves a special place in art history as the beginning of his successful career. 

This self-portrait of Rembrandt at the famous Rijksmuseum displays Rembrandt’s talent and artistic journey. 

The work of art, titled “Self-Portrait with Dishevelled Hair,” fascinates visitors with its use of light and detail. 

The careful brushwork used to create Rembrandt’s messy hair adds texture and reality.

The portrait aligns with the talent of a young artist on the edge of greatness.

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History of Rembrandt Self Portrait

Rembrandt Van Rijn was an established artist during the Dutch Golden Age. 

He painted a wide range of subjects, including portraits and historical events.

Among his broad work, self-portraits had a special place. 

He created almost 100 self-portraits throughout his 40-year career, each revealing a different aspect of his personality.

Rembrandt Van Rijn captured his aging process with his signature palette of warm browns and caramel tones. 

He illustrates his youthful energy and the wrinkled face of his later years. 

These self-portraits by Rembrandt, which he mostly made for his collection rather than for buyers, give a raw and personal view of the artist. 

Rembrandt’s self-portraits reveal his eventful life path. 

He defined it by love, loss, financial hardships, and personal pain through the lines and curves of his face.

Let’s check out some of the most iconic self-portraits he has produced:

1. Rembrandt Laughing, 1628

Rembrandt’s self portrait, Laughing, completed in 1628 when the artist was about 21 years old, displays the artist’s talent and desire. 

Rembrandt had recently set up his painting studio in Leiden, Holland, and he wanted to impress investors with his abilities. 

It was a wise marketing decision to capture himself laughing, as it showed both his artistic talent and his cheerful personality. 

Rembrandt frequently painted himself in fancy clothes in his self-portraits. 

In this work, he assumes the role of a soldier while wearing a commanding dark suit.

2. Early Self-Portrait, 1629

Early Self-Portrait Rembrandt, completed in 1628 at 23, perfectly captures the spirit of his youth and artistic ability. 

His interest in light and shadow can be seen in the painting as the intense backlighting on his face produces lovely contrasts. 

His chubby skin and messy hair give the impression of freshness and energy. 

This self-portrait was made as a showcase piece for attracting new clients. 

It indicates the young artist’s exceptional ability and successful future career.

3. Self-Portrait in a Cap with an Open Mouth, 1630

Rembrandt Self Portrait with a Cap, Open Mouthed from 1630 displays the artist’s lively and cheerful nature. 

He attracts people with a confident and focused look matched by big eyes and tight lips. 

Rembrandt used his face as a medium for artistic experimentation. 

He explored multiple facial expressions in his self-portraits. 

This painting shows his ability to portray his personality, even if it appears foolish. 

In addition, he uses costume elements, such as wearing a huge cap to control his signature curly hair, which adds to the visual impact of the artwork.

4. The Artist’s Portrait as a Young Man, 1631

In Rembrandt’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, painted in 1631, he looks confident and mature. 

The painting has a soft and fuzzy look, yet the light on Rembrandt’s face and his focused look makes it stand out. 

Rembrandt married Saskia van Uylenburgh, a wealthy woman, and established his studio in Amsterdam. 

He was making a lot of money from wealthy clients. 

He flaunts his success by wearing a posh coat and a gold chain in the artwork. 

Some thought he was overspending, but it helped him get attention. 

The painting eventually landed in the collection of King Charles I of England.

5. Self-Portrait, 1640, age 34

Rembrandt Self Portrait at 34, painted in 1640, shows the artist’s growth from a boy to a man. 

His curly hair and sly looks have been replaced by a moody and serious look. 

His mesmerizing eyes, which shine through the painting’s deep shadows, hold the attention. 

The portrait’s style was influenced by a Titian painting, showing that Rembrandt considered himself part of a rich artistic tradition. 

However, if we look closely, we may see a hint of sadness in his eyes, pointing at the personal traumas he had faced.

By the time this painting was completed, Rembrandt and his wife Saskia had lost three young children. 

Although they would later have a healthy son, Saskia herself passed away in 1642, leaving Rembrandt to raise their child alone.

6. Self-Portrait at the Age of 51, 1657

Rembrandt Self Portrait at the age of 51, painted in 1657, shows a major transformation in the artist. 

His loving wife’s death impacted him, causing him to quit painting for two years and wait a decade before painting another self-portrait. 

Rembrandt’s self-portraits became darker and more moody in the 1650s, reflecting his self-perception. 

He also experienced financial problems, which resulted in bankruptcy. 

The deep creases and wrinkles on Rembrandt’s worn face express the weight of a life characterized by sadness and poverty. 

This portrait, in contrast to his early works with softer features, displays the artist’s technical ability and keen attention to detail. 

Rembrandt was fascinated by how time and experiences change one’s state of mind, as shown by the texture of his wrinkled skin and distressed face. 

This self-portrait provides a brutally honest image of a man on the point of collapse.

7. Self-Portrait at the age of 63, 1669

In Rembrandt Self Portrait at the age of 63, painted in 1669, we observe one of his final self-portraits before his death later that year. 

The work of art reflects Rembrandt’s deep examination of his inner thoughts. 

The lines of pain around his eyes and his bent position with tight hands portray a sense of approval of the unavoidable signs of aging. 

Rembrandt exposes himself to the observer by showing his puffy, pale skin and gray hair with uncompromising honesty. 

Rembrandt’s self-portraits are timeless and significant throughout history because of his self-accepting nature.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What was Rembrandt’s first self-portrait?

Rembrandt’s first self-portrait was created in 1628 when he was around 22. 

This early self-portrait shows his skill and ambition even at a young age, showcasing his talent as a promising artist.

What is the significance of the Self Portrait Rembrandt?

Rembrandt’s self-portraits hold immense value, preserving his artistic evolution and self-awareness of human emotions.

What is the meaning of self-portrait in old age by Rembrandt?

Rembrandt’s self-portrait in old age shows his deep thinking and acceptance of the passing of time.

He expressed a sense of wisdom and sensitivity through his portrayal of aging.

How much is a Rembrandt self-portrait worth?

Rembrandt’s self-portraits have a wide range of values based on their rarity, quality, origin, and market demand. 

Rembrandt self-portraits have been sold at auction for millions of dollars. 

For example, in  July 2020, a self-portrait by Rembrandt sold for £14.5 million (US$18.7 million) at a virtual auction.

How many self-portraits did Rembrandt create?

Throughout his lifetime, Rembrandt painted roughly 100 self-portraits. 

Making him one of history’s most active self-portrait artists.

Why did Rembrandt make so many self-portraits?

Rembrandt van Rijn self portrait was used to research and test various artistic expressions and methods.

How many paintings did Rembrandt paint?

Earlier experts believed that Rembrandt had made around 600 paintings, nearly 400 etchings, and 2,000 drawings. 

A recent study, notably the work of the Rembrandt Research Project, has limited his work to around 300 paintings.

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Featured Image: Rijksmuseum.nl

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