Image Interpretation

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Rembrandt – old man military

(Rembrandt, 1606)

The artist (Rembrandt) has captured his muse as being a war figure, being dressed in traditional Dutch military costume Rembrandt has communicated the strength of the dutch military during its days as it began to dwindle. The late 1500 to the mid 1600’s saw the dutch revolt, this painting communicates a mans strength as the war progresses through the ages with time having an effect on both him and his costume. Although the sitter is facing front, his body and eyes face a different direction perhaps being unweary of his situation, it could be argued that he is on edge due to the current war when this paining is assumed to be taken.

As with all paintings, his eyes communicate as a window that we can see what he has seen and although we see his strength, his eyes communicate a level of remorse, even trauma of what he has seen or done. atop his head is a large feather, it portrays a level of flamboyance about him or the military uniform that he is wearing perhaps as a way of identifying the battalion he belongs to, the way the feather has wilted yet not damaged further reinforces the age of the man. The uniform he wears looks unfitted or incorrect like it had been passed to him form a fallen ,militant perhaps family, the lack of colour emphasises the grittiness of the painting further emphasising the feeling this man may of had during his war. The hat he wears is almost contradictory of the feather attached to it, it seems to be a old sack with a slight silver band to hold it to his head.

His face has a level of juxtaposition about it, it tells old war hero story with the kept facial hair and direction of the face, however at the same time we see his almost watering eyes and his wrinkled face with half of his face wrapped in the shadow which he is refusing to look at further cementing his demons that he wants to avoid and forget. The armour he wears would be massively uncomfortable however we can see padding around his neck that would at a level of comfort to wearing this armour perhaps reflecting his vulnerability due to his age. The level of detail on his upper face is where the main story is told, this is a face that will not forget what it has seen nor will the audience forget his face the scowl lines upon his forehead tries to portray a false front that he has attempted to put on however the tearing up of the eyes shows us that this is only a front that he is expected or has chosen to put on.

Magritte – Its not a Pipe

(Magritte, 1929)

Magritte used this image to portray that art is not reality but the artists portrayal of reality. The item painted by Magritte is indeed a pipe however it is only a painting of  a pipe and was interoperated by the artists view of reality, wether or not it is the same as everyone else’s. if it was not for the caption we would assume this is just a normal painting however it draws into question the meaning of reality, a key element in a surrealist image.


Harmensz, R. (1606). Old Man Military. [image] Available at: [Accessed 1 Nov. 2016].

Magritte, R. (1928). Its not a Pipe. [image] Available at: [Accessed 1 Nov. 2016].

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Retford, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

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