Contrast and subtle transitions between light and dark as a formal and especially expressive device occupied Rembrandt since the late 1620s. He rose to the challenge for instance in the well-known portrait painting at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Here flashing eyes and illuminated areas emerge from the figure’s darkened visage. This contrast makes the portrait psychologically compelling. Rembrandt depicted himself in costume - with an Asian scarf and a military tunic, but he appears to have simply thought this an interesting dress rather than attributing a specific meaning to it.