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The self-portrait of Johan Gregor van der Schardt is one of the most appealing sculptures in the Rijksmuseum. The bust was made almost 450 years ago, but it looks amazingly modern with its natural colours and unflattering details like the balding crown, greying temples and wart on the right cheek. Van der Schardt looks off to one side, utterly self-assured, as if he feels superior to his surroundings. After working in Italy for several years, the Nijmegen-born sculptor entered the service of the imperial court in Vienna. He settled in Nuremberg, where he made a name for himself with lifelike portraits of wealthy citizens. The self-portrait, modelled in clay and painted in extraordinarily true-to-life colours, was Van der Schardt’s contribution to the artistic contest between sculptors and painters as to which of the two arts was pre-eminent. He wanted to show that he could portray himself from all sides, whereas painters could only ever show one side of their faces. His superb, timeless self-portrait proves that Van der Schardt succeeded in his aim quite magnificently. In this edition of the Rijksmuseum Series author Frits Scholten tells the story behind this Self-Portrait.