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Self-Portrait in a Cap, Open Mouthed, 1630

Rembrandt van Rijn

Dutch, 1606-1669
Etching; only state
plate: 2 x 1-3/4 in. (5.1 x 4.4 cm); sheet: 2-1/16 x 1-13/16 in. (5.2 x 4.6 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

This etching, drawn before a mirror, is one of four that the young artist produced in his hometown of Leiden in 1630. As one of Rembrandt’s earliest efforts at recording his own likeness, it is essentially a foil for another purpose: the depiction of human passions. Such studies helped Rembrandt build a repertoire of facial expressions to use in paintings of scenes from the Bible and from mythology. For Rembrandt, studying and recording his own expressions in front of a mirror was practical and efficient. In later years, art theorists such as Samuel van Hoogstraten, who studied with Rembrandt in the 1640s, would advocate this
method as well.

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