Rembrandt and The Western Art

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Rembrandt uses oil on wood in one of his earliest self-portraits, depicting himself in a fabulous costume that includes a plumed hat, a silk scarf, and an elegant jacket complete with gold trim. There is a heavy use of shadow, concealing half of his face, with the left half being illuminated by a sole source of light located out of the frame. His face purposefully lacks an expression, as if to create an open-ended illusion of confusion. Unlike most of his works, this painting is quite large, having dimensions of 35 by 29 square inches. Although Rembrandt had already begun to attract serious attention, he had not yet received any portrait commissions by 1629, so this piece may have been created to show off his artistic abilities. This self-portrait currently resides in the Isabella Gardner Museum after it was purchased in 1896 from a private collector, Lieutenant Colonel Sawyer.8 Shortly after he painted his self-portrait at age 23, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631, where he first began officially working as a professional portraitist. By that time, he had begun to gain recognition and stardom for his world-class portraits. Rembrandt was living in the house of Hendrick van Uylenburgh, a Dutch art dealer, who introduced Rembrandt to his cousin, Saskia van Uylenburgh, whom Rembrandt married in 1634. This relationship only further progressed his career, bringing him in contact with rich patrons awaiting to commission portraits of themselves and their families.9 As

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