By: Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Created: 1628, Collection: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands Rights: Public Domain
How to create a self-portrait where most of your face is in the dark? Best put yourself in front of a white wall next to a window. Then turn your face slowly away from the light and take the picture. Curly hair is a plus.
Self-portraits by Rembrandt were an important part of his oeuvre as a painter: he created nearly one hundred self-portraits during his lifetime including approximately fifty paintings, thirty-two etchings and seven drawings.
Even as an inexperienced young artist, the 22 years old Rembrandt did not shy away from experimenting. Here the light glances along his right cheek, while the rest of his face is veiled in shadow. It takes a while to realize that the artist is gazing intently out at us. Using the butt end of his brush, Rembrandt made scratches in the still wet paint to accentuate the curls of his tousled hair.