Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Artsongs: Self Portrait (Rembrandt)

Rembrandt at Forty-four

How many times have people sat
Before the artist’s eyes?
He masterfully will observe
And bring their image forth.

The eyes, the nose, the countenance
Will all be recognized.
Yet something deep within is seen
Revealed by artist’s hand.

But now the artist takes a look
At his own face and form,
And taking stock of all he sees
Reveals himself to all.

At midlife he is in his prime;
He rests on strength of years.
While all his suffering and success
Weigh lightly in his gaze.

The other years were different
While painting out his life,
Yet somehow very similar –
The man we now behold.

And he will show us, yet again,
In future painting still
How he has borne the years of time
While letting art flow on.

                                                ~ CK

* Note: The painting above was once thought to be a self-portrait, which is how it was titled in my portfolio of masterpiece prints and is the view from which I wrote the poem. It was later determined that the painting was done by one of the painters in Rembrandt's workshop, hence the "Anonymous" attribution below.

Upper - Portrait of Rembrandt, 1650 (National Gallery of Art)
              Artist: Anonymous* (from the Rembrandt Workshop)
              Medium: Oil on canvas

Lower: Screen shot of a Google search for Rembrandt self-portraits

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