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Record Image
Rembrandt, Hermanszoon Van Rijn (Dutch, b.1606, d.1669)
Portrait of Rembrandt Laughing
1630
etching
52 x 43 mm image and paper size
90-1973
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Given 1973 by Mrs W Griesbach.
Rembrandt was the leading artist during the extraordinary flowering of Dutch art in the 17th century. Not only was he an outstanding painter; as a printmaker he was one of the great innovators of his age. Etching, which offered greater fluidity of line than engraving, became increasingly popular at this time and Rembrandt exploited the medium to the full. His experience as a painter shows itself in his ability to create dramatic effects of light and shade and his facility with pen and pencil is readily translated into the etching medium. Some of his later prints, such as the Hundred Guilder Print (Christ with the Sick, 1649) and The Three Crosses (1653) have remarkable presence and power.
Rembrandt was an insightful and empathetic portrayer of his fellow men and women. A keen observer of physical appearances, he also managed to capture the subtlest and most complex of emotional responses. This is one of a small group of etchings of his own face in which he experimented with various facial expressions – looking startled or puzzled, scowling and, here, laughing. He made over 90 self-portraits in which he depicted his rather homely appearance with great frankness.

not on view

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