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Rembrandt, Self Portrait at the Age of 63, 1669 © The National Gallery, London

BELFAST.- A spectacular painting by one of the world’s most celebrated artists has gone on display this weekend at the Ulster Museum

Self Portrait at the Age of 63, a much-loved work from the National Gallery in London, was painted in the final year of Rembrandt’s life. 

The Rembrandt painting takes centre stage in an exhibition which also showcases some of the Ulster Museum’s own collection of old master, Dutch paintings from the seventeenth century including works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Symonsz Pynas, Jan van der Heyden and Nicolaes Maes. 

National Museums Northern Ireland’s Curator of Fine Art, Anne Stewart, said, “We are delighted to have been selected as the first venue on the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour to showcase Rembrandt’s Self Portrait at the Age of 63. One of his most famous self-portraits, this incredible work of art is considered one of his most important and poignant works.” 

She added: “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.” 

Supported by Christie’s, the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour is in place to allow greater access to and encourage deeper appreciation of some of the world’s most famous masterpieces. Along with the Ulster Museum, other host venues include Abbot Hall in Kendal and Bristol Museum & 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 Masterpiece Tour will be supported by an exciting and diverse programme of events and activities for all ages including a series of gallery tours, lectures and literary evenings for adults and self-portrait painting workshops for children. 

The Rembrandt painting will be on display at the Ulster Museum until 13 March 2016. Admission is free.

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 The Rembrandt painting takes centre stage in an exhibition which also showcases some of the Ulster Museum’s own collection of old master, Dutch paintings from the seventeenth century including works by Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan Symonsz Pynas, Jan van der Heyden and Nicolaes Maes.