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Storytelling in Miniature

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606–1669

Bald Man in Profile Right; The Artist’s Father?

Etching, 1630
2 11/16 x 2 5/16 in.
The Grace J. Hitchcock Collection, 1981.142

While still in Leiden during 1630 and 1631, Rembrandt etched ten small busts of old men, including several thought to portray his father. Like the portraits of himself and other family members, they served the artist as studies of human physiognomy. Counterparts of these patriarchal types, with white beards, aged eyes, and wrinkled flesh, appear in many of Rembrandt’s paintings and scenes from the Bible.