Self-Portrait in a Cap, wide-eyed and open-mouthed 1630



Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 Leiden – Amsterdam 1669

Self-Portrait in a Cap, wide-eyed and open-mouthed 1630

etching and drypoint; 51 x 45 mm (2 x 1 3⁄4 inches)

Bartsch 320, White/Boon only state; Hind 32; The New Hollstein 69 second (final) state

Charles Delanglade, Marseille (Lugt 660)

A very good impression of this rare and much sought-after little print; in good condition with the platemark visible all round.

This is one of Rembrandt’s early self-portraits from his Leiden years between 1628 and 1631. More specifically, it is one of a small group of etchings dating to 1630 in which he used his own image to experiment with various facial expressions that might serve as models for his work and that of his pupils. In these tiny prints, many little bigger than postage stamps, the artist’s features undergo many transformations as he explores a range of expressions. In this case, he wears a beret and his eyes, mouth, and the contours of his face are rounded in apparent wonder or surprise. Three other etchings of this date show the artist frowning (Bartsch 10); open-mouthed (Bartsch 13); and laughing (Bartsch 316). The inventiveness and variety of Rembrandt’s self-portraits (as well as his obsession with making them) far exceeded that of his Dutch contemporaries. Indeed, Clifford Ackley observes that “these quirky, personal etched self-portraits are without clear precedent in the history of self-portraiture, particularly in printmaking”.