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L. Gorble after Rembrandt - Self-Portrait as a Young Man

L. Gorble, after Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Dutch
Self-Portrait as a Young Man (Portrait of Himself), undated copy
OIL ON CANVAS, 23 ½ x 20 inches
Gift of Horace Fairbanks

Although recent scholarship has cast doubt upon both the authenticity and date of the painting in the collection of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence upon which this copy is based, there is no argument about the signal importance of Rembrandt's self-portraits in the history of art. The artist's dozens of self-portraits, painted over the length of his career, cast him in a variety of roles. This copy, painted in the same scale as the original, portrays the young artist as a distinguished Dutch court painter and intellectual. The gold chain, granted by nobles to their court painters, was not his own, as he was not affiliated with any court at the time of the work's completion around 1634. His beret, not in fashion at the time, had been adopted as a part of academic regalia and may symbolize the artist's self-identification as a genius. Painted in the midst of a decades-long war with Spain, Rembrandt's portrait also bears nationalistic associations. The armored collar, or gorget, that the artist wears and his direct engagement with the viewer portray two widely-publicized attributes of the Dutch people during Rembrandt's day: their military prowess and straightforwardness.