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‘Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man,’ By Rembrandt Van Rijn

Rembrandt van Rijn's self-portrait titled "Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man," painted in 1633. Ink on paper, 4.5 x 5 cm (1 3/4 x 1 15/16 in.) (Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)
Rembrandt van Rijn's self-portrait titled "Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man," painted in 1633. Ink on paper, 4.5 x 5 cm (1 3/4 x 1 15/16 in.) (Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum)

1633

This tiny etching, just 1 inch and ¾ wide by nearly 2 inches high, is one of those Rembrandt marvels. We know from his other self-portraits and portraits of him by his students and other artists, that this is just what he must have looked like. Not yet 30, he’s already a successful, even famous artist, but he does nothing to flatter himself. He’s a little pudgy, a little scraggly, his hair is tousled and unkempt, and he looks very serious. In a bill of sale, this etching is referred to as “Rembrandt with three mustaches,” since he has a mustache on his lip, some hair on his chin, and even the brim of his cap seems to have a mustache.

— Written by Lloyd Schwartz


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