Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window

Rembrandt Van Rijn
Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window

An original Rembrandt Van Rijn Etching.


Original etching and drypoint printed in black ink on laid paper.

Signed and dated in the plate upper left Rembrandt f. 1648.

A fine 18th century impression of Bartsch’s fifth and final state, Usticke’s fifth state of eight, New Hollstein’s eighth state of nine. Printed after the addition of the fine close diagonal shading to the chin and to the right of the subject’s mouth.

Catalog: Bartsch 22 v/v; Hind 229; Biorklund-Barnard 48-A; Usticke 22 v/viii; New Hollstein 240 viii/ix.

Platemark: 6 1/4 x 5 1/8 inches Sheet size: 6 7/16 x 5 1/4 inches


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 contrived pose and glorious costume of the earlier self-portraits are nowhere to be found in this etching. It may be possible to detect traces of the cares and sorrows of Rembrandt’s private life in his facial features here. At the time this etching was done a new companion, Hendrickje Stoffels, has settled in his household after the death of Saskia and brought him great comfort, but his popularity as an artist had dwindled and his debts have mounted. The flair has been shorn from his hair and mustache; his jowls are fleshy; his tunic and hat are austere. His posture is frontal and rigid: horizontals prevail. Although Rembrandt’s introspection shows continuously through his painted self-portraits until his death in 1669, this noble self-revelation is his last as an etching.