Rembrandt painted self-portraits regularly throughout his life. In his early years especially, he used them as opportunities to experiment with different techniques of handling paint, different lighting effects, costumes and facial expressions. In this example, painted when the artist was aged about 24, the lighting is soft and the face is made mysterious by the areas of shadow around the eyes and mouth. This is one of the very first works by Rembrandt to have entered Britain. It was acquired by Charles I, one of the greatest art collectors of the age, in 1633, but was sold after the King’s execution.