NO. 12

Norton Simon Museum


Rembrandt drew inspiration from his own features and drew, etched, and painted several dozen self-portraits, many of which entered contemporary collections. In this painting, made at the height of his fame, Rembrandt tucks his left hand into the front of a garment that is an imaginative variation on a sixteenth-century tabard, or gown, lined in red. The heavy gold chain, which alludes to receipt of a high honor, is an invented accolade intended to emphasize his status. The highly convincing physical presence and the play of light over his features are characteristic of his approach in the late 1630s. The delicate, descriptive brushwork in the face contrasts with the more broadly handled drapery. His still, monumental form and steady gaze convey self-assurance and distinction.

Self-Portrait, about 1636–38. Oil on panel, 24 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (63.2 x 50.5 cm). The Norton Simon Foundation, Pasadena, F.1969.18.P