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November 12, 2012
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Rembrandt's Self Portraits

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 7:01 AM
Countless artists have used themselves as models.  This, a lot of times, comes out of necessity and convenience, but there are plenty of other reasons why an artist might model for themselves.

Rembrandt van Rijn is the first artist I think of when talking about self portraits.  (That could be because he's my favorite painter, but whatever ;) )  Some sources say he made 60 self-portraits, others claim he did over 90.  Whatever the number, it was a LOT.

The exact reason Rembrandt painted himself so often is unknown, but it has been speculated that perhaps, since he was struggling a lot of his life, he was the cheapest and most readily-available model; he often painted himself as someone else.  Or maybe he was doing self-portraits to express his feelings at the time; he sometimes painted himself with a serious look on his face.  Another theory is that self-portraits helped artists to be more well-known.  There was no Facebook back then, you know.  If someone bought your painting with your face on it, they could learn to recognize you, show their friends, you'd be famous!

Regardless of the reason(s) Rembrandt used himself as a model, the works he left behind tell us a story of his life.  Here are just a few of the many works he did with himself as the model:


1629

1630s

1635, with his wife Saskia as the other model.  She modeled for him many times.

1640

1652

1658

1659

1660

1660

1669



And now some questions for the community:


:bulletpink:Why do YOU think Rembrandt used himself as a model?
:bulletpink:Have you ever used yourself as a model for your artwork? Why?
:bulletpink:Do you know a great artist (current or not) that does/did this?

Let me know in the comments!

Add a Comment:
 
:iconcharmed-ravenclaw:
Charmed-Ravenclaw Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Intriguing.

I have used myself as a model - but only in high school. Like its said here - its the cheapest solution and they probably couldn't be bothered hiring models for us so we had to do a lot of self-portraits - to the point I kind of now hate them :P
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:iconpiratelotus-stock:
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013
Haha XD Aww. May you never have to do another self portrait again!
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:iconcharmed-ravenclaw:
Charmed-Ravenclaw Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ha ha unless I'm willing. It feels kind of vain to draw your own face all the time :P
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:iconalphabetsoup314:
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sure everyone has done a self portrait at some point - as a child. The self is probably one of the first things a kid will ever try to depict when he or she learns to draw. I think it's partially humanity's fascination with the self that created the self-portrait in the first place.
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:iconpiratelotus-stock:
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012
That's a good point ^.^
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:iconpinklady92:
pinklady92 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Fabulous article on Rembrandant :D
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:iconpiratelotus-stock:
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2012
Glad you liked it ^.^
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:iconpinklady92:
pinklady92 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thanks again :D
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:iconabbyanna:
Abbyanna Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I began painting self portraits mainly as practice. Most of my friends would not have the time(maybe not the patience )for me to take good reference photos of them.
Once I discovered that there are so many great stock images available I mostly stopped using my own image. I'm not saying I'm giving up on self portraits entirely, I'm just kind of tired of painting my own face. :bored:

I took one art history course about 20 years ago. I remember we covered Goya and whoever painted Dante's Inferno(Dore?). Sadly, other than that I recall nothing of that course.
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:iconpiratelotus-stock:
PirateLotus-Stock Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
I understand about getting tired of painting the same face! We had a nude model for drawing class once, and then we had the same one again and it was so boring o.o

I love Goya ^.^
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