REMBRANDT: Bald headed man in profile right: the artist’s father (?) - 1630



Etching and drypoint, 70 x 58 mm. Bartsch 292, Biörklund and Barnard 30-G, New Hollstein 62 V/V.

Impression of the 5th state (of 5), after the plate was cut down by Rembrandt.

Fine impression printed on laid watermarked paper. Watermark: part of a Foolscap with five-pointed collar, identical to part of the watermark variant K-a-b_CFL-2045 noticed by E. Hinterding on the impression of Cottages and Farm Buildings with a Man sketching (B. 219) in the Frits Lugt collection (Fondation Custodia). The Foolscap with five-pointed collar watermarks, variant K-a (including variant K-a-b), are found in impressions which can be dated from c. 1650, according to E. Hinterding (Rembrandt as an etcher, vol. 2, p. 389). This date is very likely here, given the very slight wear of the copperplate, visible on our impression in the upper right corner. Erik Hinterding explains that impressions on paper with Foolscap with five-pointed collar, variant K-a, were probably printed by Rembrandt himself: these impressions include his latest prints as well as earlier prints that Rembrandt chose to reprint (Rembrandt as an etcher, vol. 1, pp. 41-42).

In very good condition. The margins are exceptionally wide.

This in-octavo sheet (150 x 106 mm) doesn't seem to have been recut. Three old tiny binding holes in the top margin match those that are visible on our impression of Bust of an old Man with a Fur Cap (NH 82) with the same provenance (see description). It is probable that the two sheets were bound together at some point, soon after they were printed.

There is mention of a copperplate representing Rembrandt's father in Clément de Jonghe's 1679 inventory, but so far it hasn't been possible to identify it. As a result, the face of Harmen Gerritsz. van Rijn, Rembrandt's father, remains unknown. The bald headed old man portrayed here by Rembrandt appears in other etchings, drawings and paintings that Rembrandt made around 1630, the year Harmen Gerritsz. van Rijn died. This is the case for the following prints: NH 57 (1630), NH 59 (1630), NH 60 (1630), NH 61 (1630) and NH 85 (1631).