An Announcement

Friends, I’ve decided to discontinue Nice and Easel. We had a good run. I learned so much about so many great artists, but time just doesn’t permit anymore. Thank you for reading. Best wishes.


Psyche!! Happy April Fool’s Day! You can’t get rid of me that easily! We have SO much more art to discover! In honor of April Fool’s Day, I would like to feature some self-portraits of artists having a grand ole time. Here is our boy Rembrandt himself cracking up, and I love it.

Doesn’t this make you want in on the joke?

Rembrandt wasn’t exactly known for his fun-loving personality, but the smile in this painting looks to me like it came pretty easily. As if somebody just delivered a witty punchline. “To cross the road, you say? Ha ha ha!” In his later years, Rembrandt didn’t have that much to laugh about. He was highly respected and had plenty of students and plenty of work, but he liked to live beyond his means. The 21-year-old Rembrandt in this portrait didn’t yet have the the mounds of debt and financial ruin his future self would have to deal with. 

Yue Minjun is a contemporary artist from China, who has made a living from painting and sculpting laughter. Here is his self-portrait:

Now that is a jolly laugh!

He has a million more, all along these same lines. Go ahead and give him a Google. Somehow he makes many of his smiling figures look pretty creepy, but I really like the less creepy ones. No word on whether the real-life Yue Minjun has as many teeth as he does in this self-portrait. His art has been dubbed “Cynical Realism” but he doesn’t look real cynical in this painting, amiright?

Hans von Aachen was a Frenchman, who painted this double self-portrait:

Before we go on, did I get you up there? von Aachen wasn’t French! He was German! Ohmygoodness, my mischief knows no bounds! This GERMAN painter was notorious for painting racy mythological scenes. Wikipedia says he was, “known for his skill in the depiction of nudes…” That might explain his cheery demeanor as seen in this double whammy. April Fool’s Day was brand spanking new when von Aachen was alive, and something tells me he wasn’t one to shy away from a little prank or two.

Be on guard, readers! The day isn’t over yet!

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