A master of the sublime.
Originally posted on The Squirrel Review.
If the aim of self-portraiture is defined as the production of a painting displaying perfect likeness to one’s physical self, Rembrandt van Rijn was a master of this medium for much of his artistic life. However, when one defines the aim of a self-portrait more subtly, that of providing an honest window into the deep and personal character of an artist, Rembrandt only began to succeed towards the end of his life. This truth is exemplified in what many consider to be one of the artists greatest masterpieces, Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
In his earlier self-portraits, Rembrandt depicts himself as handsome, successful, and fashionable – indeed, far more like a gentleman than an artist. From his clothing to his posture, the artist reflected upon the glamorous…