Rembrandt’s Self-portrait in Sixteenth-Century Costume (1638)

Scholars have long wondered why Rembrandt would represent himself in expensive and extravagant clothing from a century earlier even though they know that the etched self-portrait is based on an engraving of the fifteenth-century painter Jan Gossaert, known as Mabuse (see next image). Unaware of the long tradition in which great masters have imagined themselves as earlier great masters, today’s scholars assume Rembrandt borrowed Mabuse's pose without meaning. Yet, in borrowing the pose of a great master and in dressing himself in the clothes of success, Rembrandt symbolically represents himself as a member of the canon even though, at around thirty-four years of age, he was not yet certain of his immortality.

See also Rembrandt’s Self-portrait at a Window

Captions for image(s) above:

Rembrandt, Self-portrait in Sixteenth-Century Costume (1638)

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Captions for image(s) above:

Anon., Portrait of Jan Gossaert, known as Mabuse

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Notes:

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