Artwork Title: Self Portrait with Two Circles

Self Portrait with Two Circles, 1665-1669

Rembrandt van Rijn

Self Portrait with Two Circles is an oil on canvas painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted c. 1665–1669, one of over 40 painted self portraits by Rembrandt. In it, he is seen at work, holding his palette, brushes, and maulstick. The painting is notable for its monumentality and for an enigmatic background consisting of a shallow space with the fragments of two circles. It is the most ambitious self portrait in which he is depicted at work and is considered a masterpiece of his last years. Self Portrait with Two Circles is one of more than 40 self portraits Rembrandt painted (as well as a similar number in other media) and one of a number of depictions in several media dating at least from 1629 that show him at work drawing, etching, or painting. He wears a fur-lined robe, beneath which is a red garment. On his head is a white hat, similar to that worn in several other late self-portraits. Unlike other late self portraits, in Self Portrait with Two Circles, Rembrandt, with one hand on his hip, appears confrontational and even defiant. The impression is that of a master solemnly asserting his genius. ...The meaning of the background has generated much speculation. The flat surface behind Rembrandt has been interpreted as either a wall or stretched canvas. Among the theories explaining the significance of the arced lines is that they are drawn on a wall, or that they represent hemispheres in a map of the world, a common design feature of Dutch homes; however, the circles contain no geographical references and are placed rather far apart. It has been suggested that the circles represent the rota aristotelis — the Aristotelian idea of the true form of the world — or have kabbalistic significance.... That the circles may serve a compositional function, that of geometric structure, is also a possibility. (
Uploaded on Oct 20, 2016 by Suzan Hamer

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