Rembrandt van Rijn's Self Portrait Leaning on a Stone Sill provided the highlight of a spectacular array of his finest prints at a New York auction on November 6.
The 17th century piece shows Rembrandt posing in Renaissance attire, a move that is said to have been inspired by Raphael's Portrait of Baldassare Castiglioni and Titian's Portrait of Ariosto. These works are now housed in the Louvre and London's National Gallery, but in Rembrandt's day were part of the collection of Alfonso Lopez, a renowned collector in Amsterdam.
Rembrant made a sketch of Raphael's piece in 1639, which is now in Vienna's Albertina, and in the same year completed this striking etching. By emulating Raphael and Titian, it is likely that Rembrandt was attempting to both pay tribute to his Renaissance idols and be held in the same regard.
The etching and drypoint print at auction was a well-inked and crisp impression of the scarce work. In superb condition with little to no signs of wear, the print sold for $55,000, reaching the top end of its $40,000-60,000 estimate.
Some of the most impressive results in the sale were seen by Rembrandt's lesser works, such as the small plate print of The Presentation in the Temple with an Angel. The 1630 etching, which is characteristic of Rembrandt's religious works, was sold for $16,000, achieving a 77.7% increase on its $9,000 high estimate.
Also seeing strong results was his portrait of Jan Lutma, a renowned gold and silversmith, surrounded by the tools of his trade. The piece, completed in 1656, was an excellent, richly inked and dark impression that brought a 40% increase on its $15,000 valuation, selling for $21,000.
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