An 18th-century copy after Rembrandt's self portrait today in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 1745).1 Rembrandt's original painting is signed and dated 1633. The present work was most likely based on an engraving produced by one of several different printmakers.
Rembrandt produced more self portraits than any other artist, and this was one of his most famous. It was painted relatively early in his career, but reflects an important decision that Rembrandt obviously made with regard to his own image. It is the first self portrait in which he portrays himself in more or less historical costume, rather than contemporary fashionable attire. Rapid changes in sartorial taste meant that portraits could become outdated relatively quickly and Rembrandt obviously recognised that a more timeless costume would perpetuate his likeness for longer.
The original portrait was also copied by Henri Fantin-Latour – the great 19th-century French painter – who, between 1852 and 1870, devoted time to copying works of the Old Masters in the Louvre.2
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