Of the many self-portraits Rembrandt painted over a lifetime, this is perhaps the greatest, not only for its poignant revelations of the self, but for his sure handling of paint. The initial effect on viewers is daunting, as though they are confronting an ill-tempered monarch. The strange costume he wears is timeless. In place of a crown, he wears a large velvet artist's beret. He holds a painter's stick as though it were a scepter. Yet this feeling of uneasy confrontation diminishes as we study the face.
Rembrandt and His School: Masterworks from the Frick and Lugt Collections
February 15, 2011 to May 15, 2011
When Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) was asked whose talents he would most like to possess, he declared: "Rembrandt's." And as the largest individual railway stockholder in the world, Frick is reported to have said that "railways are the Rembrandts of investment." Like Frick, the Dutch art historian Frederik Johannes Lugt (1884–1970) was a great admirer and collector of works by the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669); as a teenager he wrote a biography of the artist, illustrated with his own copies after Rembrandt's most famous works.