|Museum Het Rembrandthuis|
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Early in his career Rembrandt etched more than thirty studies of men and women. They were not meant to be portraits—they were a way for Rembrandt to practise capturing facial expressions. These heads of striking types are known as ‘tronies’. Most of the tronies were made between 1630 and 1640. Rembrandt’s parents often acted as his models. With their wrinkled and lived-in faces they made superb subjects. Four Oriental heads of 1635 make up a separate group in this category. They are based on prints by Jan Lievens. Rembrandt wanted to improve on his rival’s work, as the inscription on this print reveals.