Rembrandt van Rijn’s self-portrait with two circles is an oil on canvas painting created between 1665 and 1669 depicting the artist holding a palette, brushes, and maulstick. This 17th-century artwork is one of over forty painted self-portraits Rembrandt created during his successful career as an artist. Through these self-portraits, the viewer can see Rembrandt’s appearance transform from his youth in Leiden to Amsterdam in his later years.
As seen in the portrait, Rembrandt reversed his true characteristics while staring at himself in the mirror when creating it. The self-portrait was painted during a tumultuous time for the artist when he had suffered financial failure after several years of prosperity. Regardless of this situation, Rembrandt did not paint himself with vanity but showed vulnerability and sincerity that provides unique testimony to how his appearance changed over time.