Rembrandt van Rijn is a famous Dutch painter and printer that throughout his life also worked as a draughtsman or in other words a drawer of sketches of different objects and buildings that were for artistic or commercial use.
Van Rijn is however best known for his self-portraits and his illustrations of biblical scenes that did not follow the popular Baroque art style at the time, but instead in his own unique painting styles that also included a technique known as ‘Etching’. Etching is when you use acid or dye in order to highlight certain lines and angles.
In this article about paintings with portraits of the painter Rembrandt van Rijn we will be telling you about the top paintings by this great artist.
Painting Title: Rembrandt as Shepherd with Staff and Flute. Painter: Govert Flinck. Date Created: 1636. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In this painting created in 1636, it shows van Rijn who is during that time in his early thirties having been born in the city of Leiden in the Southern Netherlands. The oil painting is drawn on a canvas and presents van Rijn as a shepherd that is holding a flute with both of his hands with fingers placed on top of the open-holes of the flute.
While with his right arm he is hugging a staff which is used by shepherds in order to be able to herd the sheep more effectively. Moreover, in this painting, the subject has an earring on his right ear as well as a wreath of leaves placed upon his head.
Although this painting is of Rembrandt van Rijn it is not a self-portrait by him, instead, it is painted by another painter of the Dutch Golden Age, Govert Flinck.
Flinck was born in Kleve which at that time was part of the Dutch Empire, although in his early adulthood he made his livelihood by working for his father’s silk trading company he eventually left in order to follow his true passion of being an artist.
Painting Title: Portrait of Rembrandt van Rijn. Painter: Jan Lievens. Date Created: 1628. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Here we have another Dutch oil painting; it is also again a portrait of fellow artist van Rijn. This painting was completed in 1628 by Dutch painter Jan Lievens, who was actually a close associate of van Rijn as they were both born in the city of Leiden in the Netherlands, with Lievens being just a year younger than van Rijn.
Furthermore, from around 1626 to 1631, Lievens and van Rijn shared a studio together in Amsterdam where they lived while they were learning from more experienced artists and also created many iconic paintings that are displayed in leading galleries all over the world including the Netherlands.
In this painting you have a close up of van Rijn who is positioned to the side with his head turned towards the painter, he is wearing a coat with a prominent collar that is coupled with a white scarf on top of it. Moreover, van Rijn is also wearing a beret, which is placed on top of his light-brown hair with ginger undertones.
The background is a pretty monotone mix of brown and green that blends in with his hair and his coat making you pay a lot of attention to the subject.
Painting Title: Rembrandt van Rijn 1606-1669. Engraving Of 1643 Self-Portrait. Painter: Rembrandt Van Rijn. Date Created: 1643. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
For the third painting of this article, we have our first self-portrait by van Rijn. The painting is a perfect example of what makes van Rijn so special, he was a true innovator that solidified the technique known as etching into a true art style.
This art method was employed by van Rijn by using a likely diluted solution of hydrochloric acid that is used to essentially make engravings into the piece of paper with the engravings then eventually being filled up with paint. However, it is a very long process as the acid works slowly and needs to be applied multiple times.
This painting was finished in 1643, which was the prime period of van Rijn’s career. In this self-portrait, you have van Rijn presented at the age of 37 with his entire upper body being visible. He is wearing a medallion over his upper chest and a necklace that is around the puffy collar of his coat.
Furthermore, he is also wearing a beret that covers the top of his thick hair. Moreover, he has a mustache. Van Rijn has a blank impression in the painting. However, the painting is extremely detailed, especially when you consider the fact that it is employing just the brown color palette.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait Etching at a Window. Painter: Rembrandt van Rijn. Date Created: 1648. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Here we have another famous work of Rembrandt van Rijn that shows his love and passion for creating self-portrait paintings. In this painting called ‘Etching at a Window’ that was completed in 1648 when van Rijn was aged 42, you have the artist sitting next to a window while holding what is either a pen or an etching needle over multiple pieces of paper.
Van Rijn is presented as wearing a long coat along with multiple other layers of clothing as well as a hat. However, what really completes the painting is the gaze that makes the viewer wonder what is going on in the artist’s mind and what he is going through. Finally, out of the wind, there is a light sketch of the landscape as well a house on the forefront.
The painting is part of a key phase of van Rijn’s evolution as an artist where during the 1640s he stepped away from self-portraits and began to focus mainly on creating paintings and etchings of landscapes. And this is well represented here, with a landscape being featured even in his self-portraits.
Moreover, this painting was created during the peak of van Rijn’s career during which he was at his peak financially, before he bought an expensive home in a street called Sint Antoniesbreestraat that is located in central Amsterdam.
Painting Title: Self-Portrait as the Apostle Paul. Painter: Rembrandt van Rijn. Date Created: 1661. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Finally, in this article about paintings with portraits of the painter Rembrandt van Rijn we have the ‘Self-Portrait as the Apostle Paul’ that is one of van Rijn most famous paintings.
The painting was completed in the later period of van Rijn’s life in 1661, this self-portrait shows the artist standing or sitting sideways while his head is turned towards the viewer. In the coat that he is wearing, there is the handle of a sword poking out, while in his hands he is holding what is believed by experts to be letters.
Moreover, on his head, van Rijn is wearing a white turban which is done on purpose as the painter is trying to present themselves as Apostle Paul who lived in the Middle East where the turban is a common type of clothing that protects the wearer from the sun’s piercing rays in the hot native climate.
Furthermore, the sword and letters themselves are carefully chosen as Apostle Paul is known for carrying himself a sword and a book with which he is frequently presented in paintings and drawings from various eras. Again, van Rijn tries to get the viewer to think for themselves and become engaged by portraying a tranquil look that leaves people wondering what he is truly thinking.
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