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ETCHING Self-portrait Open-mouthed
Self-portrait, open-mouthed (B320), 1630.
etching, only state.
Image size is 5.1 x 4.6 cm.
Rembrandt is unparalleled as a maker of self-portraits. All of them are small and show only the head or at most a bust. Sitting in front of the mirror Rembrandt would experiment in recording a variety of facial expressions on the plate. He would use studies like these as exercises for the figures that were to express particular emotions in larger compositions. This is his surprised look.
Handprinted etching: how do we make the most beautiful reproductions of Rembrandt's etchings? First the etching is photographed. The best photograph is transferred to a copper plate which is covered with a special layer to make it sensitive to light. All the unexposed areas in this layer where black lines occur can then be washed away. The copper is exposed and grooves are created when the plate is subsequently immersed in a bath of acid. While looking through a stereomicroscope the engraver cuts the lines in the plate by hand. He uses a sharp burin and works with meticulous care, constantly comparing his work with the original, following the hand of Rembrandt. Once the plate is ready, it can be printed. The printing is done by hand. The final result comes very close to Rembrandt's original. It is as if the master himself has been at work.
The etching is available without (w.m.) or with a mount. The mount is cream coloured, 30 x 40 cm.