Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Régnier depicts himself painting the portrait of a man who may be Marchese Vincenzo Giustiniani, his primary patron. Sometime between 1617 and 1620, Régnier left his native Flanders for Rome, where he served as Giustiniani’s official painter. This complex double portrait is possibly the canvas recorded as hanging in the marchese’s dressing room in the Palazzo Giustiniani. Here Régnier affirms the elevated status of the artist by presenting himself with the studied poise and gentlemanly attire of a nobleman from the same social circle as his patron. In this portrait of an artist painting a portrait, both subjects gaze at the viewer, who, in turn, has been transformed into both the subject and the beholder of the work.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Nicolas Régnier, French (Maubeuge 1590 - 1667 Venice)
Self-Portrait with an Easel
Work Type
c. 1620-c. 1625
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2400, European Art, 17th century, Rome and Its Influence in the Seventeenth Century
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
111 x 138 cm (43 11/16 x 54 5/16 in.)
frame: 136 x 162.4 x 12 cm (53 9/16 x 63 15/16 x 4 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • exhibition label: back of frame, paper, black ink, printed
  • exhibition label: back of frame, paper, black ink, printed
Frederick (Fritz) Haussmann, Berlin, by 1931, sold; [through Schaeffer Gallery, Berlin and New York]; to Mrs. Eric Schroeder, 1943, Milton, Massachusetts, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1982

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mrs. Eric Schroeder
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Hermann Voss, "Spätialienische Gemälde in der Sammlung Dr. Fritz Haussman in Berlin", Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst (1931-1932), 65/pp. 161-8, ill. p. 161

Edgar P. Richardson, "The Repentant Magdalen by Niccolo Renieri", Bulletin of the Detroit Institue of Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts (March 1939), vol. 18, no. 6, pp.1-3, p. 3

Edgar P. Richardson, "Renieri, Saraceni and the Meaning of Caravaggio's Influence", The Art Quarterly, Detroit Institute of Arts (Summer 1942), vol. 5, pp.233-241, pp. 235-237, fig. 3, repr. p. 237

Baroque Paintings Lent by The Schaeffer Galleries of New York, auct. cat. (Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1942), cat. no. 18

Pier Luigi Fantelli, "Su Nicolò Renieri Ritrattista", Atti dell'Instituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (1973), Vol. 131, pp. 145-167, pp. 152-153

Benedict Nicolson, The International Caravaggesque Movement: Lists of Pictures by Caravaggio and his Followers through Europe from 1590 to 1650, Phaidon (Oxford, 1979), pp. 80, 225, pl. 57

Pierre Rosenberg, France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-Century French Paintings in American Collections, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1982), p. 315

John Spike, Baroque Portraiture in Italy: Works from North American Collections, exh. cat., John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota, Florida, 1984), no. 50, pp. 142-143, repr. in color

Wendy Wassyng Roworth, "Baroque Portraiture. Hartford, Connecticut", The Burlington Magazine (June 1985), vol. 127, no. 987, pp. 376+406-407, pp. 406, fig. 42, repr.

Wendy Wassyng Roworth, "The Consolations of Friendship: Salvator Rosa's Self-Portrait for Giovanni Battista Ricciardi", Metropolitan Museum Journal (1988), 23/pp. 103-124, pp.118-119/repr. as fig. 22

Benedict Nicolson, Caravaggism in Europe, Umberto Allemandi & C. (Turin, 1990), vol. 1 p. 160, vol. 3, pl. 975

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990)

Visages du Grand Siecle: Le portrait francais sous le regne de Louis XIV, exh. cat., Somogy Éditions d'Art (Paris, 1997), p. 134

Dennis P. Weller, Sinners and Saints, Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and His Dutch and Flemish Followers, exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, 1998), p. 229, repr.

Annick Lemoine, "L'Iter di un caravaggesco nordico: Nicolas Régnier e il movimento naturalista", Paragone (March 2000), vol. 51, no. 601, pp. 43-72, p. 60; repr. as fig. 35

Silvia Danesi Squarzina, Caravaggio e i Giustiniani: Toccar con mano una collezione del Seicento, exh. cat., Electa (Milan, 2001), pp. 198, 200, fig. 1, repr. p. 198

Silvia Danesi Squarzina, Caravaggio e i Giustiniani: Toccar con mano una collezione del Seicento, exh. cat., Electa (Milan, Italy, 2001), no. A9, pp. 198-201, repr. as fig. 1

Beverly Louise Brown, ed., The Genius of Rome, 1592-1623, exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts (London, England, 2001), no. 49, repr. in color, p. 149

Penelope Hunter-Stiebel, ed., The Triumph of French Painting: 17th Century Masterpieces from the Museums of FRAME, exh. cat., Portland Art Museum (Portland OR, 2003), p. 35

R. Ward Bissell and Andrea Derstine, Masters of Italian Baroque Painting, Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, MI, 2005), p. 162, under no. 53, repr. as fig. 1

Annick Lemoine, Nicolas Régnier (alias Niccolò Renieri) ca. 1588-1667: Peintre, collectionneur et marchand d'art, Arthena (Paris, 2007), pp. 2, 65-66, 68, and 239, cat. no. 37, repr. p. 2 (detail), 65, and 239

Gert Jan van der Sman, Caravaggio and the Painters of the North, exh. cat., Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid, 2016), p. 10, 108, 116-117, cat. no. 19, repr. p. 10 (detail), 117

Linda Borean, Francesca Cappelletti, and Patrizia Cavazzini, Nicolas Régnier (v. 1588-1667): l'homme libre, exh. cat., Musée d'arts de Nantes and Lienart éditions (Paris/Nantes, 2017), cat. no. 9, pp. 44, 102, 111-112, repr. p. 113, detail repr. p. 36

Colleen Walsh, "An Unexpected Juxtaposition", The Harvard Gazette (June 7, 2019), [e-journal],, accessed June 10, 2019

Exhibition History

Baroque Paintings: Lent by The Schaeffer Galleries of New York, Berkshire Museum, 06/03/1942 - 06/30/1942

Baroque Portraiture in Italy: Works from North American Collections, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 12/07/1984 - 02/03/1985; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 03/20/1985 - 05/20/1985

The Genius of Rome, 1592-1623, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 01/20/2001 - 04/16/2001; Palazzo Venezia, Rome, 05/01/2001 - 08/31/2001

The Portrait, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/15/2004 - 01/09/2005

Ideal [Dis-] Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 10/24/2008 - 10/03/2009

HAA 1 Survey Course (S421): Landmarks of World Art and Architecture (Spring 2010), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 02/05/2010 - 05/09/2010

Ancient to Modern, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 2400 French/Italian/Spanish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 04/28/2016; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/19/2018 - 03/28/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/04/2021 - 01/01/2050

32Q: 2210 West Arcade, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/02/2019 - 08/27/2021

Caravaggio and the Painters of the North, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 06/21/2016 - 09/18/2016

Nicolas Régnier (v. 1588-1667): l'homme libre, Musée d'arts de Nantes, Nantes, 12/01/2017 - 03/11/2018

Subjects and Contexts

Google Art Project

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