Self Portrait With Two Circles

7:00 AM

Rembrandt Van Rijin, Self Portrait With Two Circles, 1669 
No artist has left more of himself on canvas than Rembrandt – perhaps from an obsession with aging, but nevertheless, he remains in his pieces. He created an autobiography containing more than 90 self-portraits dating from the onset of his career in 1620 till his death in 1669.  The artist’s earlier works were meant to capture an emotion, to force someone into feeling a sort of calling to the heart. Tronies, as these works were called, allowed Rembrandt to receive great recognition and popularity as an artist as the aristocracy pushed for etchings and paintings of celebrities. These early successes gave him the momentum and opportunities to become a true master.

Self Portrait with Two Circles was done in 1669, the year of his death. His later style is more about self-reflection, focusing upon his signature style instead of creating new scenes. Rembrandt no longer painted the tronies that gained him popularity, but instead searched for his definitive style, his final act of expression. The way Self Portrait with Two Circles is painted details what Rembrandt felt as he painted it, his palette consisting of muted reds and browns that are warm in tone.

Rembrandt was not alone in this self-portrait. He is depicted painting two circles, and the perfection in their curvature suggests that he had become a true master, but furthermore depicts the time of economic hardship he was in. Washed out colors allow the viewer to see it in his eyes. The warm, earthy tones suggest that through all his misfortune he is at peace, and their warmth giving both he and the viewer comfort. Enigmatic in all aspects, Rembrandt’s self portraits give a true look into Rembrandt’s story and how dearly he wanted to be remembered, no matter if they do so through narcissism or just his telling the story of his life in the only way he knew how.

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