Rembrandt, Self Portrait at the Age of 63 © The National Gallery, London

Rembrandt, Self Portrait at the Age of 63

19 March - 15 May 2016
Thursday 12 May, late night opening until 8pm

Abbot Hall has been selected to take part in the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour, showing Rembrandt’s magnificent Self Portrait at the Age of 63.

This work was painted in the final year of Rembrandt's life and is one of his last pictures. Rembrandt painted more self portraits than any other artist of the 17th century. In this late picture, the artist wears a deep red coat and a beret, his hands clasped before him. The viewer is confronted by his steady gaze. Rembrandt painted and etched self portraits throughout his life, but those executed in his final years, in which he presents himself in a reflective mood, are among the most poignant and challenging.

The painting was cleaned in 1967, revealing the damaged signature and date. The X-ray of the picture reveals two pentimenti (alterations to the design). First, a change in the size and colour of the beret, which was originally much larger and all white. Secondly, the original position of the hands was open and he was holding a paintbrush. Repainting the hands clasped and without the brush reduces their dramatic impact and draws attention back to the face.

The Masterpiece Tour is part of the National Gallery’s commitment to promote the understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Old Master paintings to as wide an audience as possible. Abbot Hall will also take this opportunity to show works from our own collection focusing upon portraiture. This will include portraits of Lady Anne Clifford who was alive at the same time as Rembrandt and also the monumental The Great Picture Triptych painted in 1646 featuring Lady Anne’s family history and accomplishments.

This opportunity to bring hugely popular National Gallery paintings to the public’s doorstep is being made possible by the generous support of Christie’s.

Whats do our visitors think…

“What an achievement to bring this great painting here – well done all involved. An absolute privilege, Thank you!”
Peter D

“We have come solely to see the Rembrandt painting, we have seen it a number of times in the National Gallery and again we were not disappointed. It is lovely to see the museum have dedicated such a large space to it and you can appreciate it in all its glory. Well done to the Abbot Hall Art Gallery for giving it the attention it deserves”
Mr and Mrs Stuart B

It was very beautiful looking at the art work
Lucie, Aged 5

I’ve just seen Rembrandt’s last selfie, Great!
Bob H

The National Gallery and Christies

Abbot Hall Art Gallery supported by:

Arts Council EnglandSouth Lakeland District CouncilSir John Fisher FoundationKendal Town Council

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  • Rembrandt, Self Portrait at the Age of 63 © The National Gallery, London


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