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Rembrandt self-portrait to go on display in Belfast's Ulster Museum

Published 15/01/2016

Curator of fine art at National Museums Northern Ireland, Anne Stewart, adjusts Self Portrait At The Age Of 63 by Rembrandt at the Ulster Museum (Press Eye/PA)
Curator of fine art at National Museums Northern Ireland, Anne Stewart, adjusts Self Portrait At The Age Of 63 by Rembrandt at the Ulster Museum (Press Eye/PA)

One of Rembrandt's best known paintings is to go on display in Belfast.

Self Portrait At The Age Of 63, normally on show at the National Gallery in London, will be the main attraction in a new exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

Anne Stewart, curator of fine art with National Museums Northern Ireland, said: " One of his most famous self-portraits, this incredible work of art is considered one of his most important and poignant works.

"There is an intensity and pride about the painting, as well as deep pain and sadness. There is a strong sense that this was a self-portrait by someone who knew he was close to the end of his life."

Some of the Ulster Museum's own collection of old master, Dutch paintings from the 17th century will also be on display, including works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Symonsz Pynas, Jan van der Heyden and Nicolaes Maes.

Belfast is the first stop on the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour which aims to bring some of the world's most famous paintings to a wider audience.

Other host venues include Abbot Hall in Kendal and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.

Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, said: "Rembrandt's very late self-portrait is one of his most moving and expressive works and reflects a lifetime's worth of scrutinizing his own likeness. A short time after finishing this picture, he was dead.

"This is one of the most celebrated Rembrandts in the National Gallery and we are thrilled to share it with the public in Belfast where it can be seen with Dutch paintings from the Ulster Museum."

The Rembrandt artwork will be at the Ulster Museum until March 13.

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin welcomed the arrival of the masterpiece.

She said: "We live in a time when virtually every mobile phone has a camera, and anyone with an internet connection can share their photos with the entire world. This painting harks back to a different era. Using oil paint and canvas, Rembrandt's work blends classical realism with modern expressionism.

"The texture and vibrancy of his paintings add emotional depth. This made Rembrandt the leading artist of his day, and his work still resonates hundreds of years later. Through his self-portraits, he has created a unique record of his life and documented his developing artistry.

"This painting, the last self-portrait of his lifetime, is the final work in a series which stands as a remarkable achievement by a great artist."

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