The Standard Bearer is a three-quarter-length self-portrait by Rembrandt formerly in the Paris collection of Elie de Rothschild and purchased by the Rijksmuseum for 175 million euros with assistance from the Dutch state and Vereniging Rembrandt in 2021. It was painted on the occasion of the artist’s move from Leiden to Amsterdam and is seen as an important early work that “shows Rembrandt’s ambition to paint a group portrait for the Amsterdam militia, at the time the most valued commission a painter could be awarded.”
Rembrandt’s flag bearer has several copies in oil, and later prints may be from such copies, but this painting nevertheless has a provenance reaching far into the 18th century. It was documented as a self-portrait by Smith 1836, who wrote:
Rembrandt in the character of a Standard-Bearer. His portly countenance, which is seen in nearly a front view, denotes him to have been about fifty years of age; a large hat, turned up at the side, and decked with feathers, covers his head, and a steel cuirass shields his breast: the remainder of his habiliments are suitably rich and appropriate. One hand grasps the staff of an unfurled banner, and the other is placed on his side. This splendidly-coloured picture is engraved by Lause, and also by G. Haid. From the collection of Chevalier Verhulst, M. le Boeuf and M. Robit. It was afterwards in the collection of his Majesty George IV., who exchanged it with M. Lafontaine for other pictures.— Smith, 1836
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot agreed with him in 1914 but stopped short of calling it a self-portrait. He wrote:
He stands in profile to the right, turning his face round and looking at the spectator. With his left hand he holds a large white banner on his shoulder ; his right hand is on his hip. Over his brown curls he wears a slashed cap with a brown plume ; his face is shaved, save for the long moustache. Over his yellowish-brown coat, trimmed with lace, he wears an iron gorget and a broad sash from which a sword hangs at his side. He has loose sleeves and a white collar and wrist-bands. Strong light from the left touches his back and his face and falls full on the banner. Life size, three-quarter length. The man has Rembrandt’s features.