Rembrandt was a very pro active artist and he derived the moods and expressions of most of his paintings from his real-life experiences. He had a huge array of paintings of himself and would make self-portraits very frequently. He averaged at one portrait a year beginning from the age of twenty. Over time the moods of his painting changed. Most of his early works showed him ever smiling, confident, successful and prosperous. With the passage of time, his painting started acquiring a melancholic look to itself.
He started aging in his portraits too, the lines became more conspicuous and the general atmosphere a little gloomy compared to the preceding ones. Many critics argue that the comparatively happier, brighter stance was deliberately adopted by Rembrandt to attract commissions and highlight his advertisement skills. Ironically, this painting was never painted to attract commissions. It’s real intent lay somewhere else and there have been a number of speculations in the same regard. Some critics argue that Rembrandt had painted all his life and as he neared his last days, he wanted to make one that showed the real him. This one perhaps was his true façade, the real man behind those paintings, an honest virtual take on his life intended to raise the curtains of his real life. It’s albeit obvious. He could have chosen any other way of depicting himself but he deliberately chose the somber pose. Why, What for? A whole lot of what has been argued over in the affore mentioned paragraphs has been cited by a-many painting analysts. (Learning About Art: Art Criticism)
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