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Govert Flinck, Self Portrait aged 24

Key facts
Full title Self Portrait aged 24
Artist Govert Flinck
Artist dates 1615 - 1660
Date made 1639
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 65.8 × 54.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Ayerst H. Buttery, 1925
Inventory number NG4068
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Self Portrait aged 24
Govert Flinck

Rembrandt was a teacher as well as an artist – and he knew how to school apprentices in his workshop so that they could paint just like he did.

In this portrait we can see many of the skills and techniques that Rembrandt used with such great effect. Look at the intense and detailed focus on the face, the skilful layering of paint, the subtle mixing of different skin tones and the use of texture and colour to suggest stubble and pores. The pink, patterned scarf is painted with the same sort of long brushstrokes Rembrandt favoured when depicting fabric of this type.

For many years, it was thought to be a signed self portrait by Rembrandt. We now know that it’s a self portrait by one of his most successful pupils, Govert Flinck. In 1926 cleaning revealed that Rembrandt’s signature had been forged to cover Flinck’s own, probably in the nineteenth century to add value to the painting.

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