Tucker and Rembrandt

Albert Tucker (1914-99) was an influential Australian artist who was inspired by haunting events and experiences of the war and the downfall of society. Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-69) who was born in Holland is considered one of the greatest artists in European history, favouring painting and etching. Both artists have come across hardships and family grief, often using their emotions and feelings in their works. In this essay, I will analyse a self portrait from each of their collection and discuss similarities and differences.

Tucker created ‘Self Portrait’ in 1945, using oil on cotton on cardboard while Rembrandt’s painting ‘Self Portrait as a Young Man’ was completed in 1628. Compositionally, the portraits differ. Tucker has painted himself facing straight on whereas Rembrandt’s is asymmetrical, showing more of his right-sided features. Even though both artists have used different techniques, the illusion of depth is present in the works. Tucker, painting in long and thin brushstrokes, has created profundity in the contours of his face and wrinkled shirt by using different shades, shapes and colour. Rembrandt has used almost a faded water ripple effect but, like Tucker, has created lighting and shadow by using different shades and colour.
Another variation in these two works is colour. Rembrandt has used a combination of black, brown, white and cream, casting a shadow that hides his facial features. His hair has bits of bright orange due to the angle at which the light is hitting his head. The shades themselves are dull and pastel, giving the painting an old and traditional outcome. He often painted in this style, also known as chiaroscuro, which exaggeratedly employs light and shadow. His works can be considered as having biblical and historical themes. Tucker has mostly used dull colours also, with exceptions of his bright red tie which contrasts with his rosy cheeks. He uses a mix of different shades in his skin tone as he does in other portraits, making...