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


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.


Paint Layer Paint Surface Night Watch Quartz Ground White Shirt 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Kühn, p. 193.Google Scholar
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    J. Wadum in an internal report of the restoration department of the Mauritshuis, The Hague, dated May 1997.Google Scholar
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Published by Gillis Hendricx, hones principum virorum doctorum, pictorum, chalcographorum, statuarum nec non amatorum…, 2nd edn, Antwerp 1645.Google Scholar
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    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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