Self-portrait

New York, The Frigk Collection, INV. NO. 06.1.97
Chapter
Part of the Rembrandt Research Project Foundation book series (RRSE, volume 4)

Abstract

The Self-portrait in The Frick Collection belongs to the group of paintings regarded as unquestionably autograph, although its large format, the frontal aspect of the sitting figure and the prominence of Rembrandt’s costume are exceptional. The significance of these special features in a work that is unusually ambitious, not only pictorially but especially as a type of ‘self-representation’, has not previously been the subject of a thorough investigation. In the Rembrandt literature attention has been confined to (in our view) unconvincing speculation on the possible reason of the pose, the nature of the costume, and the ‘meaning’ to be attributed to the painting as a result. Here the frontal pose and the costume are given more detailed consideration. At the same time different explanations of this work’s unusual features are reviewed.

Keywords

Clay Quartz Mercury Europe Cane 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Kühn, p. 193.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Frick Collection. An illustrated catalogue (Vol. I Paintings), New York 1968, pp. 266–268, esp. 266.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    De Vries, Tôth-Ubbens, Froentjes, p. 89.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Wadum in an internal report of the restoration department of the Mauritshuis, The Hague, dated May 1997.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    On the concept of kenlijkheyt see Chapter III, p. 307 ff and E. van de Wetering, ‘Rembrandt’s manner: technique in the service of illusion’, in: exhib. cat. Rembrandt. Paintings, 1991/92, pp. 12–39, esp. 33.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    S. van Hoogstraeten, Inleyding tot de hooge schoole der schilderkonst, Rotterdam 1678, p. 176.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    K. Clark, Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance, New York 1966, p. 127.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    W. Pinder, Rembrandts Selbstbildnisse, Königstein im Taunus n.d. [1950] (19431), p. 94.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    J. Rosenberg, Rembrandt, Cambridge (Mass.) 1948, vol. I, p. 30.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    On this, see, for example K. van Mander, Den grondt der edel vry schilder-const, Haarlem 1604, Chapter 1, fol. 83, and ibid. Het leven der oude antijcke doorluchtighe schilders, Alkmaar 1603, fol. 76v. See also Chapman 1990, p. 94.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Clark, op. cit.7: ‘not only is the grandiose frontal pose derived from Titian, but the pleated shirt is a part of Venetian sixteenth-century dress’.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Rosenberg, op. cit.9:‘rich Oriental garments’; exhib. cat. Exhibition of works by Old Masters, etc., London 1889, p. 37, no. 157: ‘in a Jewish dress’.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    H.E. van Gelder, Rembrandt en zijnportret, Amsterdam [1948], p. 50.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    W. Weisbach, Rembrandt, Berlin/Leipzig 1926, pp. 87–88.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    H.-J. Raupp, Untersuchungen zu Künstlerbildnis und Künstler dar Stellung in den Niederlanden im 17. Jahrhundert, Hildesheim 1984, p. 179.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    Chapman 1990, p. 91.Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    ‘…[Lukas] was overal vergheselschapt met den verhaelden Jan de Mabuse den welcken hem seer statigh en prachtigh droegh, hebbende aen een cleedt van goude laken en Lukas hadde aen eenen rock van ghele syden cameloot, dat in de Sonne oock eenen glans hadde als van gout’. K. van Mander, The lives of the illustrious Netherlandish and German painters, vol. 1, H. Miedema (ed.), Doornspijk 1994, fol. 214v/pp. 116–117.Google Scholar
  18. 21.
    See: H. Tezcan and S. Delibaš, The Topkapi Saray Museum. Costumes, embroideries and other textiles, London 1986; J. Scarce, ‘Das osmanisch-türkische Kostüm’, in: exhib. cat. Türkische Kunst und Kultur aus osmanischer Zeit, Recklinghausen/Frankfurt/Essen 1985, pp. 221–239.Google Scholar
  19. 24.
    Chapman 1990, pp. 91–92.Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    L.J. Slatkes, Rembrandt. Catalogo completo, Florence 1992, pp. 410–412.Google Scholar
  21. 28.
    A. Bredius, ‘Rembrandtiana’, O.H. 27 (1910), pp. 193–204, esp. 196 and 200: ‘Een manstronie van Rembrant sijnde sijn eygen conterfeytsel’. GAA., not. S. Pelgrom, NA 4767, pp. 324-378, dd. 19 October-23 November 1678.Google Scholar
  22. 29.
    Among others: J. Rosenberg, op. cit.9; K. Clark, op. cit. 7, Rembrandt and the Italian Renaissance, New York 1966, p. 127; E.A. Saunders, ‘Rembrandt and the Pastoral of the Self, Essays in Northern European Art presented to Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann on his sixtieth birthday, Doornspijk 1983, pp. 222–227, esp. 222; Chapman 1990, p. 93 and Tümpel 1986, p. 410.Google Scholar
  23. 31.
    Frans Floris, Portrait of a woman, 1558, canvas 107 × 83 cm; Caen, Musée des Beaux-Arts, inv. no. 74. Apart from this work, Chapman 1990, p. 93, note 73, cites examples by Jan Vermeyen and Quinten Metsys.Google Scholar
  24. 33.
    Published by Gillis Hendricx, hones principum virorum doctorum, pictorum, chalcographorum, statuarum nec non amatorum…, 2nd edn, Antwerp 1645.Google Scholar
  25. 34.
    He wears a gown (known as a delia or ferezja) with underneath it a kaftan (or zupan) that is tied round the waist with a sash and on his head a kolpak with a fur edge. On this, see: I. Turnau, History of dress in central and eastern Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, Warsaw 1991, pp. 71–78. Confirmation that contemporaries would have recognised Rijckaert’s costume as Polish is provided by the inventory of the kings of Spain of 1666 in which this portrait is described as ‘le très beau portrait d’un manchot habillé à la polonaise peint par van Dyck’. See: IM Peinture Flamande au Prado, Madrid 1989, p. 205. The copy of the painting owned by the Antwerp artist Gaspar Thielens was also described by the Swedish traveller Nicodemus Tessin the Younger in 1687 as ‘ein alter man in einem fast Polnischen habit geschildert, biss an die Knien vom Van Dijck, die Mütze wahr grün Sammet mit Sobeln, und der Unterrock von rothem Sammet, der überrock wahr schwartz-breunlich mit Sobeln, er begerte ungefehr 100 Duc. darvor so es auch wohl werth wahr’. G. Upmark, ‘Ein Besuch in Holland 1687, aus den Reise Schilderungen des Schwedischen Architecten Nicodemus Tessin d.J.’, O.H. 18 (1900), pp. 117–128, 144–152, 199–210, esp. 203.Google Scholar
  26. 35.
    Schwartz 1984, p. 350.Google Scholar

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© Stichting Foundation Rembrandt Research Project 2005

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