Portrait of an Officer (Self-Portrait)
Ferdinand Bol is known primarily as one of the more successful artists to have worked in Rembrandt's studio. His reputation and fame are based on his history paintings and on his portraits. Between 1642 and 1651, Bol produced approximately 20 etchings. Portrait of an Officer (Self-Portrait) shows a young man half-length wearing a gorget, a chain and a large plumed hat. The figure rests his hands on the hilt of a sword and looks at the viewer with a serious expression. Like Rembrandt, Bol was attracted by military and exotic costumes, and he imitated the master’s custom of portraying men sporting a hat or beret. Although the man’s arm in Portrait of an Officer (Self-Portrait) does not rest on a balustrade, it is likely that Bol had in mind Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, Leaning on a Stone Still when he created this composition. Certainly, Bol emulated his teacher’s market strategy of depicting himself in a favorable manner. Bol’s print was completed with great attention to detail and the use of drypoint increased the tonal variations displayed in this impression, adding to the overall appeal of this work.