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Painting of man painting portrait at an easel

A light-skinned man sits at an easel, looking over his left shoulder toward the viewer. He has dark eyes, dark curly hair, a large nose, and a neat mustache and goatee. He has heavy eyelids and a slightly open mouth. He wears a very wide-brimmed hat and a black cloak with large sleeves. He holds a paintbrush and an artist’s palette. The painting on the easel is of an older man with light brown hair and a beard. He wears a shiny red cape with a fur collar. This man also looks directly at the viewer.

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


Recorded Ownership History
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, Italy, 2001), no. A9, pp. 198-201, repr. as fig. 1
  • 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
  • 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
  • Jesse Locker, ""The Hands of Aurora": Artemisia Gentileschi and Her Contemporaries" (Johns Hopkins University, 2007), Unpublished, p. 221, fig. 4.40
  • 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
  • Bernd Ebert and Liesbeth M. Helmus, ed., Utrecht, Caravaggio and Europe, exh. cat., Hirmer (Munich, 2018), pp. 71-72, fig. 33, detail repr. p. 64
  • Colleen Walsh, "An Unexpected Juxtaposition", The Harvard Gazette (June 7, 2019), [e-journal],, accessed June 10, 2019
  • Letizia Treves, Artemesia, exh. cat., National Gallery Company Limited (London, 2020), pp. 32, 72, fig. 33
  • Nicola Suthor, Bravura: Virtuosity and Ambition in Early Modern European Painting, Princeton University Press (Princeton, 2021), pp. 146-148, fig. 98
  • Liesbeth M. Helmus, De Bentvueghels: Een berucht kunstgenootschap in Rome 1620-1720, Uitgeverij Unieboek and Het Spectrum bv (Amsterdam, 2023), pp. 64-65, repr. p. 64 as fig. 38

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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Verification Level

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