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Rembrandt van Rijn
Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo
1658

A man wearing a black notched beret and striped brown doublet is shown in three quarter-length with both hands on his hips. Though the subject in this painting of 1658 is unknown, his dark hair may indicate a traveller from the Mediterranean. Rembrandt executed at least one painting for an Italian patron in the 1650s, and this may be an instance of a portrait commissioned during a brief stay in Amsterdam. Regardless of the man’s origins, his authoritative pose and confident gaze point to a powerful personality. Equally remarkable is the application of paint: the artist has executed the doublet through long strokes laid in with a stiff brush. Flattening form in an almost modern manner, these strokes imbue the costume with a lively texture typical of the artist’s late “ruwe,” or rough, style. The man’s face, however, displays the attentive energy associated even with the artist’s earliest likenesses. This portrait, a grand statement on the power of the human face and the act of painting alike, demonstrates the artist’s supreme ability late in his career.

 
Rembrandt van Rijn
Leiden, Netherlands 1606–Amsterdam, Netherlands 1669
Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo
1658
Oil on canvas
107.4 x 87.0 cm
Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2015
58-008

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Agnes reopened on Tuesday 7 July. Welcome back! Learn more.