The Unfinished Print: 3 June to 7 October 2001

Rembrandt van Rijn, Dutch, 1606-1669
Upper Portion of the Artist's Head and a Tree, c. 1641/1642
etching
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection 1943.3.7202

The landscape with a figure must have been etched first and discarded as unworthy of an independent composition. Then Rembrandt added the fragmentary study for a self-portrait along with a separate trial for the hair or beard (to the right), and the perhaps comic detail of a disembodied eye floating above the beret. This and several other sketch sheets imply that Rembrandt deemed his most incidental studies to have market value.

Copyright ©2001 National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
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