Rembrandt van Rijn

Self Porttrait with Saskia
Rembrant is considered o­ne of the most important painters of the 17th century. He was born Rembrandt Harmenszooon van Rijn o­n July 15, 1606 in Leiden, the Netherlands. He is known to have created 600 paintings, 300 etchings and 2000 drawings. Rembrandt was a master of chiaroscuro, the use of contrast to engage the viewer. His self-portraits have provided the world with a personal view of the artist’s life.

His work emerged during the Dutch Golden age, a time of scientific innovations, expanded commerce and increased Dutch political influence. Rembrandt’s family was prosperous. As a youth, he attended Latin school. Although he enrolled at the University of Leiden, Rembrandt preferred painting. He convinced his parents to allow him to apprentice under Jacob van Swanenburgh. After a subsequent apprenticeship with renowned painter Pieter Lastman, Rembrandt opened his own studio in Leiden.

Rembrandt with his wife Saskia
As Rembrandt’s reputation grew, so did his assignments. He received numerous commissions from Amsterdam, and relocated to the home of art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh. Rembrandt married Hendrick’s great-niece, Saskia van Uylenburgh in 1634. Three of their children died shortly after birth. Their fourth child, Titus, was born in 1641 and survived into adulthood. Rembrandt’s wife died in 1642. His relationship with his son’s nurse, Geertje Dircx resulted in a lawsuit to force him to marry her. It was resolved with a substantial settlement to Geertje. Later, Rembrandt and Hendrickje Stoffels, his former maid, had a daughter, Cornelia. She was at her father’s side at the time of his death o­n October 4, 1669.

One o­nly has to review his self-portraits to view the toll of success and sadness o­n the face of o­ne of the world’s greatest artists. The legacy of Rembrandt is animated scenery and a love of humanity free of the unyielding formalities of his artistic contemporaries.

Many Pictures from Rembrandt on!