Rembrandt has left us more self-portraits than any other artist in the world, around eighty (around forty paintings, nearly thirty engravings and seven drawings), not including the many pictures in which he depicted himself as a character.
This painting is unique in that it is the only self-portrait showing Rembrandt standing up. X-rays of the panel have shown us that Rembrandt, unhappy with the position of his legs, shortened them and then later hid them totally behind a dog. He also changed his hair. A copy attributed to one of his pupils, Isaac de Jouderville (1612/1613 - 1645/1647), shows us how he looked originally.
The more or less fantastical Oriental costume was frequently used by Rembrandt and other artists of his time in biblical scenes or figures of fantasy to create an image that evoked distant and exotic lands, for which there was growing interest in Holland.
> See the digital video made especially for the exhibition Revelations - A digital odyssey in painting, Petit Palais, 18 september to 17 october 2010.