head of elderly woman with large white headdress covering hair and ears; pensively looking downward; portion at L seems to be darker compared to grayish tone of other inking

The Artist's Mother: Head Only, Full Face, 1628

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Rembrandt was living at home in Leiden, Holland, when he sat down to etch in front of an easily accessible model, his 60-year-old mother. Old, lined faces would be a lifelong motif for him, but it’s hard to imagine one etched with more delicacy or penetration. The air of introspection may owe to the Dutch tradition of picturing aged people as pious and pondering salvation. When plans to extend the torso didn’t work out, Rembrandt, then age 22, did the unthinkable and severed the plate under his mother’s chin. He was nonetheless proud of the print, dating and signing it as a finished work. His mother is the only verifiable family member he recorded. Rembrandt named his three daughters (two died young) Cornelia, after her.

Exhibitions
Details
Title
The Artist's Mother: Head Only, Full Face
Artist Life
1606–1669
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.93.117
Provenance
Possibly Von Döhn sale, Paris 1813; sold to Geissler; ('Johann Martin Friedrich Geissler (1779-1853), his sale, Leipzig, October 29, 1855). John E. Andrus III, Wayzata, Minn.; by descent to his daughters, Elizabeth, Katie, and Julie; gave to MIA, 2015. Earlier provenances have been gathered, but further research will increase our knowledge of their histories.
Catalogue Raisonne
White+Boon 352 ii/ii (with hood completed and lettering added); Hind 2; New Hollstein 6 ii/ii; Münz 83; Gersaint 320; Björklund 28-B
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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head of elderly woman with large white headdress covering hair and ears; pensively looking downward; portion at L seems to be darker compared to grayish tone of other inking