“Self Portrait at the Age of 63” by Rembrandt
“Self Portrait at the Age of 63” by Rembrandt was the last in his long series of self-portraits and painted in the year of his death. This painting is one of his final pictures. Despite his impending death, Rembrandt presents a self-assured and confident self.
Rembrandt employed his usual somewhat limited palette of lead white, ochres, and red flakes. The artist has depicted himself wearing a dark red coat and a beret, his hands clasped.
The composition draws the viewer to the face and is confronted by his steady and resolute gaze. When this painting was X-rayed, it revealed alterations to the composition.
The most significant change was in the arrangement of the hands. The initial position of the hands in this painting was more animated and dramatic, and one of the hands was holding a paintbrush.
Rembrandt changed the positioning and drama of the hands to make them more subtle and clasped before him and without the brush.
Rembrandt deliberately diminished the impact of the hands to draw attention to the face and the eyes. All of Rembrandt’s self-portraits were created by the artist looking at himself in a mirror. So his self-portraits are in reverse to his real features.
Rembrandt lived beyond his means and twelve years before this painting; he was forced to sell most of his pictures and his extensive collection of antiquities.
The sale list survives and gives us a good insight into Rembrandt’s collections. Unfortunately, the returns from the sales were disappointing, and sill, in debt, Rembrandt was also forced to sell his house and his printing-press.
Rembrandt outlived his wife, his later partner, and his son, and when he died, he was buried as a poor man in an unknown grave.
Self-portraits by Rembrandt
Rembrandt created nearly one hundred self-portraits, including over forty paintings, thirty-one etchings, and about seven drawings. This volume of self-portraits is high for any artist and represented around 10% of his body of work.
His oil paintings trace his progress from a young man, through to the hugely successful portrait-painter of the 1630s, and the troubled but complex portraits of his old age. According to Kenneth Clark, Rembrandt:
“turned self-portraiture into an autobiography.”
Rembrandt van Rijn was an innovative and prolific master draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.
Rembrandt’s works depict a range of styles and subjects, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies.
Self Portrait at the Age of 63
- Title: Self Portrait at the Age of 63
- Artist: Rembrandt
- Date: 1669
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 86 x 70.5 cm
- Museum: The National Gallery, London
- Name: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
- Born: 1606 – Leiden, Dutch Republic (now the Netherlands)
- Died: 1669 (aged 63) – Amsterdam, Dutch Republic (Netherlands)
- Nationality: Dutch
- Movement: Dutch Golden Age, Baroque
- Notable Works:
- The Polish Rider
- The Night Watch
- The Jewish Bride
- The Raising of Lazarus
- Christ and the Woman of Samaria
- Self Portrait at the Age of 63
- Wide-Eyed Self-Portrait
- Belshazzar’s Feast
- The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
- Two Old Men Disputing
- Philosopher in Meditation
- The Woman Taken in Adultery
- Susannah and the Elders
- The Return of the Prodigal Son
- The Prodigal Son in the Brothel
REMBRANDT’S Self Portrait at the Age of 63
A Tour of the National Gallery, London
16th Century Paintings
- “Mystic Nativity” by Sandro Botticelli – 1550
- “Virgin of the Rocks” by Leonardo da Vinci – 1506
- “The Madonna of the Pinks” by Raphael – 1507
- “The Raising of Lazarus” by Sebastiano del Piombo– 1519
- “Salvator Mundi” by Andrea Previtali – 1519
- “Bacchus and Ariadne” by Titian – 1523
- “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein the Younger – 1533
- “Mary Magdalene” by Girolamo Savoldo – 1540
- “Saint George and the Dragon” by Tintoretto – 1558
- “The Family of Darius before Alexander” by Paolo Veronese – 1567
- “Diana and Actaeon” by Titian – 1569
- “The Rape of Europa” by Paolo Veronese – 1570
- “The Death of Actaeon” by Titian – 1575
- “The Origin of the Milky Way” by Tintoretto – 1575
17th Century Paintings
- “Supper at Emmaus” by Caravaggio – 1601
- “Samson and Delilah” by Peter Paul Rubens – 1610
- “Christ in the House of Martha and Mary” by Diego Velázquez – 1618
- “The Judgement of Paris” by Peter Paul Rubens – 1635
- “Aurora abducting Cephalus” by Peter Paul Rubens – 1637
- “Equestrian Portrait of Charles I” by Anthony van Dyck – 1638
- “Venus at her Mirror” by Diego Velázquez – 1651
- “The Courtyard of a House in Delft” by Pieter de Hooch – 1658
- “Self Portrait at the Age of 63″ by Rembrandt – 1669
- “A Young Woman standing at a Virginal” by Johannes Vermeer – 1670
Famous Rembrandt self-portrait on display
Rembrandt at National Gallery
“A painting is complete when it has the shadows of god.”
Photo Credit: 1)Rembrandt [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons