An original etching and drypoint and burin printed in black ink on laid paper. Signed and dated in the plate upper left Rembrandt f. 1648.
This is a fine 19th-century impression of Bartsch’s fifth and final state, Usticke’s seventh state of eight, printed after the addition of the fine close diagonal shading to the chin and to the right of the subject’s mouth. Provenance: ex-collection Albert M. Bender, San Francisco (note bibliophile whose philanthropy benefited the Stanford University rare book collection); ex-collection Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts, San Francisco Museum of Art (gift from Bender, deaccessioned to benefit future acquisitions). Catalogue reference: Bartsch 20; Hind 156; Biorklund-Barnard 38-B; Usticke 20 ii/iii.
The contrived pose and glorious costume of Rembrandt's earlier self-portraits are nowhere to be found in this etching. However, it may be possible to detect traces of the cares and sorrows of Rembrandt's private life in his facial features here. At the time this etching was done, a new companion, Hendrickje Stoffels, had settled in his household after the death of Rembrandt's wife Saskia. Stiffels brought him great comfort, but Rembrandt's popularity as an artist had dwindled and his debts had mounted. The flair has been shorn from his hair and mustache, his jowls are fleshy, his tunic and hat are austere, and his posture is rigid. Although Rembrandt's introspection shows continuously through his painted self-portraits until his death in 1669, this noble self-revelation is his last as an etching.
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