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Rembrandt van Rijn

Dutch, 1606–1669

Rembrandt van Rijn's dynamic and original approach marks the artist as one of the greatest seventeenth-century Dutch masters as well as one of the most famous personalities in the history of Western art. He worked first in his native Leiden and, from 1632 onward, in Amsterdam, where he had studied briefly with the influential history painter Pieter Lastman.

Virtuoso technique; emotional power; dramatic plays of light and shadow: these are but a few key elements that mark Rembrandt van Rijn's exceptional command of paint and canvas. Whereas the quality of some artists' work noticeably declines toward the end of their life, Rembrandt's late compositions are characterized by unprecedented pictorial eloquence. Throughout a long career he consistently developed and refined his lively brushwork, lending an air of immediacy to his numerous portraits and history paintings. This self portrait is of Rembrandt painted as a 23-year-old man.