Happy birthday Rembrandt!

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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (July 15, 1606—October 4, 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He became part of what is known as the Dutch Golden Age, painting many portraits. He was known for his apt depictions of light and detail. He is widely considered one of the most important figures in European art.

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Rembrandt was born in Leiden, in what is now The Netherlands to Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn and Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck. He was directed early on toward a career as a painter, serving as apprentice to Jacob van Swanenburgh and later Pieter Lastman. It is thought that Rembrandt learned the basics of painting under the former, and acquired his knowledge of historic and biblical figures under the latter.

Rembrandt spent many of his first years as a professional deconstructing his former masters' works. He became skilled in portraying light and detail during the latter half of the 1620s.

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The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp

In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by statesman Constantijn Huygens, who got Rembrandt some of his first important commissions.

In 1631, he moved his business to Amsterdam and soon was a skilled portrait artist. He took on apprentices of his own, some of the first being Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck.

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Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee (1633)

By this point, Rembrandt was known for his illustration of light and dark. This can be seen in his work Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver.

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Rembrandt became a widely coveted teacher of art. It is estimated that he taught around fifty students throughout his career.

Despite the fact that Rembrandt was known for his use of biblical imagery, it is unknown whether he officially belonged to any church.

The Blinding of Samson (1636)

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and Danaë (1636)

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are example of the presence of religion in his work. He completed while working with Hendrick Uylenburgh, who had opened a workshop that restored paintings and created portraits.

In 1642, Rembrandt painted The Night Watch, perhaps his most important commission. His production decreased dramatically after he finished this painting.

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The Night Watch

Rembrandt lived beyond his means, bidding up his own paintings and purchasing an expensive house with his wife, Saskia. Saskia later died and Rembrandt became involved with a much younger woman named Hendrickje, who had been his maid. His lack of financial control eventually led to financial collapse in 1660. He moved to Rozengracht with his then-partner Hendrickje, and their son, Titus. The three set up an art dealing business with Rembrandt as its employee.

It is likely that Rembrandt produced over 300 etchings and around the same number of paintings.

Some of his other works include Boaz and Ruth (1643),

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Aristotle Contemplating A Bust of Homer (1653),

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and The Jewish Bride (1665).

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Tuesday, 15 July 2014
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