Self-Portrait, aged 51
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Self-Portrait, aged 51 about 1657

On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

  • Must See
In this extraordinary self-portrait, Rembrandt’s direct gaze arrests attention. The effects of time and experience are written on his face, in which he explored the subtle colouring and textures of ageing skin with startling objectivity. The artist left more than eighty paintings, etchings and drawings of himself which record his appearance throughout his career, and reflect something of his changing fortunes. They also confirm his remarkable creative energy even amidst personal crisis. By the time he painted this work, in either 1657 or 1659, he had endured great personal and financial difficulties.

Glossary Open

Etching

A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.

Etching

Details

  • Acc. No. NGL 072.46
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size Painted area: 53.00 x 43.00 cm; Overall size: 53.00 x 54.00 cm
  • Credit Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland (Bridgewater Loan, 1945)