Rembrandt with cap pulled forward


Rembrandt Van Rijn
c. 1631

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn etching.

c. 1631

Original etching printed in black ink on laid paper

A clear and strong 17th century impression of Bartsch’s sixth and final state, Usticke’s seventh state of seven, New Hollstein’s tenth and final state, of this scarce etching (characterized by G.W. Nowell-Usticke in his 1967 catalogue Rembrandt’s Etchings: States and Values as “an extremely rare small self-portrait” and assigned his scarcity rating of “RRR+” [30-50 impressions extant in that year]), printed after the addition with the burin of the diagonal shading to the right temple and to the shadow on the right cheek probably by Johannes van Vliet.

Catalog: Bartsch 319 vi/vi; Hind 58; Biorklund-Barnard 31-10; Usticke 319 vii/vii; New Hollstein 71 x/x.

Rembrandt’s vast production of self-portraits is unparalleled in the 17th century – in all the history of art, for that matter. About one-tenth of all the paintings he produced in the course of his career are self-portraits (the etched self-portraits are not as numerous or as chronologically continuous as the painted ones but still number well over twenty). Although it is useless to try to explain this unique phenomenon, it can surely be assumed with safety that the artist, whose profound interest in the human face is amply proved by the rest of his work, found a constant and reliable model in himself.
The authorship of this Rembrandt self-portrait has never been in doubt, however, it is now believed that the final sate is actually the work of Johannes van Vliet (active 1628-37).