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Storytelling in Miniature

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669

Old Man Seen from Behind

Etching, about 1631
3 x 1 1/8 in.
Given in memory of Grace J. Hitchcock, 1969.349

This portrait of an old man was originally part of a larger composition containing five heads which Rembrandt then cut to make individual prints. In this print he etches on the copper plate as if sketching on a piece of paper, capturing the fleeting moment in pose and gesture. The slightly backward glance seems mildly resentful. The quickly rendered textures within the old man’s coat suggest a long life of patches and repairs.