Rembrandt Van Rijn was a master of self-portraiture, creating over 80 in various mediums throughout his lifetime. His self-portraits showcase his evolution as an artist, with styles ranging from youthful and well-dressed to introspective and aged. Among them is the impressive “Self-Portrait” from 1658, considered one of his greatest works.
This monumental portrayal depicts Rembrandt’s entire life using chiaroscuro lighting techniques, revealing every wrinkle and crease on his face. The historical clothing worn adds a sense of mystery to the portrait while highlighting Rembrandt’s lifelong fascination with dramatic guises. It is worth noting that this masterpiece accounts for around 10% of Rembrandt’s work.
Being both an excellent painter and printmaker enabled him to create strikingly lifelike portraits such as this one, cementing his legacy as the foremost artist from the Dutch Golden Age. The attention paid to detail in light and shadow gives this piece its characteristic depth that makes it stand out today as it did when it was created over three centuries ago.