His paintings of old faces neither flatter nor scrutinise[细看], are neither in denial about nor repelled by age, but instead relish the effects of time. Rembandt is, above all, interested in the inner self, the mystery behind someone's eyes, and the distractions[注意力分散] of youthful glamour[魅力] just get in the way of that pursuit. An elderly face framed by a white ruff collar over black clothes allows him to see deeper.
Rembrandt's deepest study of ageing was a lifelong project: he watched himself grow old. His unrivalled[无与伦比的] and sustained[经久不衰的] self-portraiture shows how he himself changed with time. As he ages, he sees himself more intimately[熟悉的]: he stops pretending to himself. To compare his Self-Portraits at the ages of 34 and 63 is to witness someone grow in suffering and sorrow and, perhaps, wisdom. At 34 he looks proud, at 63 he simply looks human.