Masterpieces of the Golden Age

Rembrandt's self portrait


Artist Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
Title Self portrait with two circles
Year c.1665-1669
Technique Oil on canvas
Current location Kenwood House, London, U.K.


Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, better known by his first name Rembrandt, is the most famous of the Dutch Golden Age painters, and one of the greatest artists of all time. His best known works are his portraits (including many self portraits) and his group portraits. He also created beautiful etchings, often of biblical subjects.

Self portrait with two circles

Self portrait with two circles

One of the best of Rembrandt's many self portraits, painted when he was about sixty.

The meaning of the circles on the background has been debated for centuries, but is still a mystery. Being able to draw a circle freehand was traditionally considered proof of artistic excellence, so maybe Rembrandt was making a statement about himself. That may also be the reason he depicted himself as a painter, something he rarely did. Rembrandt was one of the greatest painters of all time, and by the time he created this painting he probably knew that.

Self portrait with two circles is on display in Kenwood House in London.