|Some Self-Portraits by Rembrandt|
(Scientific American, September 1973 issue)
When I think of Rembrandt (1606-1669), I think of his self-portraits. An artist who suffered periods of impoverishment, he was his cheapest model. As a young painter, I was intrigued by an article I read in Scientific American that featured a page of his self-portraits. And of course, I admired his other paintings. But in the end, what really captured me were his etchings—so much so that in high school I bought a book that had them all and even included large fold-outs.
Although Rembrandt made 31 self-portraits as etchings, his landscape etchings hold the most interest for me. Masterful in their use of value, design and drawing, they are worth studying. For example, isn't this a wonderful landscape:
|Landscape with a Hay Barn and a Flock of Sheep, 1652|
6.8” x 3.2”
and this one:
The Omval, 1645
But I also find his allegorical or religious etchings useful for study, too. Look how the dramatic lighting supports the design in this one:
The Adoration of the Shepherds: a Night Piece, circa 1652
Somehow over the years, that book of etchings vanished. I miss it. I may have to buy another.