Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: Selbstbildnis mit aufgerissenen Augen, Radierung und Grabstichel, 1630, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: Selbstbildnis mit aufgerissenen Augen, Radierung und Grabstichel, 1630, The British Museum, London
This is a small masterpiece of Rembrandt's early etchings. The expression of this physiognomic study made by his etching needle could not be more livelike as the facial expression (perhaps "astonishment") is in perfect harmony with the round shape of the face. Rembrandt knows exactly how to hit every tonal gradation with fine, arching strokes. The Frankfurt copy is printed with a touch of plate tone and shows the unpolished edges of a particularly early print that had not yet been cleared of its saw marks. The 18th century was not able to reconcile this sheet with the dignity of Rembrandt's self-portraits; in Gersaint 1751 and subsequently in Bartsch 1808 it was listed among the general male head studies.