Rembrandt painted more than sixty self-portraits and drew and etched his likeness repeatedly. These works range from youthful efforts that often served as experiments in dramatic lighting effects or transitory facial expressions to the more subtle and searching images of his mature years. The Frick canvas, with its psychological depth, monumental scale, and rich, warm coloring, is the best known and among the most imposing of these portraits. The artist, burdened with financial struggle and personal problems, depicted himself—in poignant and perhaps ironic contrast—in the splendid costume and enthroned dignity of a monarch.
Source: The Frick Collection: Handbook of Paintings, New York: The Frick Collection in association with Scala Publishers, 2014.