REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn
(b. 1606, Leiden, d. 1669, Amsterdam)
Oil on canvas, 80 x 67 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Catalogue number: Bredius 54.
Rembrandt recorded his own likeness in at least 75 paintings, drawings, and prints, which date from his earliest years in Leiden to the last year of his life in Amsterdam. The dozens of painted examples clearly had many purposes, ranging from theatrical displays of emotional expression in the youthful works, to the most candid self scrutiny in some of the late canvases. A few self portraits were intended for great patrons, others no doubt for family members, and some must have been painted with no other viewer in mind, like pages in a diary. In this painting, a sober assessment of his appearance at the age of fifty-four, Rembrandt records light and textures with the objectivity of a still-life painter, an approach that makes the expression of his eyes and mouth all the more compelling.