This piece would have been completed when the artist was in his early twenties and still searching for a style to call his own. Technically, he could already work to an impressive level, though. His local town had accepted his brilliance and already promoted his work outside these boundaries, though his work still varied in quality and some of his earlier paintings were actually a little crude and more aimed at what would sell in local markets. Etching provided an alternative tool which immediately grabbed his attention. Over time he would incorporate different techniques into his etchings and take this medium much further than it had previously been - typically artists had seen etchings as a way of reproducing existing paintings, but he saw it as a separate option which should be treated as such.
Strokes can be seen so clearly within etchings, see how he creates his clothes with very strong, parallel lines which together provide planes of colour which produce the collar, arms and main part of his jacket. Light comes in from our right hand side, creating a shadow across the left side of his face, which he implements with more intense, closer lines. His hair is curly and loose, with Rembrandt typically leaving the outer part of his hair to be much freer. He was not someone who always took too much care for his appearance, which is strange considering how often he appears within self portrait paintings and etchings - with around 90 produced across the full length of his career.
The etching can be found at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, which is probably the best place to see this artist's original work. His masterpiece, Night Watch, is a part of their impressive collection, but you can also enjoy a large number of other artists here as well. They have, over time, built up a diverse collection of Dutch art as well as tackling all of the different mediums in which Rembrandt himself was involved, with many paintings and drawings also out on display all year round. Amsterdam remains one of the finest art cities in the world, and has plenty to pack a full week's holiday for those looking to visit.