This popular painter was born in Leiden, the Netherlands on July 15, 1606, and given the name of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Since his father was in the milling trade he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. Rembrandt had talent and a love for art so he left his studies at the University of Leiden to devote himself to the study of art. Once Rembrandt started becoming known as a painter he also started teaching art and continued to do so all throughout his life.
By 1631 Rembrandt had become quite popular and had set up an art studio in Leiden and once the studio began flourishing he moved on to Amsterdam. He married the cousin of a successful art dealer, Saskia van Uylenburgh in 1634. The marriage helped to enhance his career and it brought him in touch with many wealthy patrons who wanted to commission him for portrait painting. He was also well known for painting religious subjects and soon he had become the leading portrait painter in Holland.
Tragedy in personal life
Rembrandt began making use of warmer tones in color in his artworks in 1636. However, even though his painting was appreciated and he was becoming better known his personal life was in turmoil. Three of his four children died in infancy followed by his wife who died in 1642. The painter was not descending into despair. It was at this time that he painted what is looked upon as his most significant single work. The artwork is titled “The Night Watch” and it is an impressive painting that leaves its viewers in awe.
Contribution to art
Rembrandt is considered to be one of the greatest painters and printmakers in the history of European art and the most important in Dutch history. His contribution to art came at the time that was known as the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting was overly innovative and prolific. Rembrandt’s paintings show luxuriant brushwork, rich color and a mastery of chiaroscuro (the use of strong contrasts between light and dark). Rembrandt’s many portraits and self-portraits show a strong sense of character. Contemporary Amsterdam life can be seen in his drawings. As the greatest artist of the Dutch school of art, he was a master of light and shadow.
As mentioned previously his most inventive artwork is “The Night Watch” painted in 1642. The painting shows a group of city guardsmen waiting to be given the command to fall in line. Each man is distinctly painted and the entire canvas is filled with color, movement and light. In the front of the painting, you can see two men, one in bright yellow and the other in black. As a result of the shadow of one color tones down the brightness of the other. Right in the center is a little girl dressed in yellow.
It is not really known how many works of art can be attributed to Rembrandt but it can be said that he produced about 600 paintings, 300 etchings and 1,400 drawings. Some of his paintings include “St. Paul in Prison”, “Young Girl at an Open Half-Door” and “The Mill”. There are also numerous portraits painted by this artist.
Some of the Most Famous Rembrandt Paintings
Night Watch – mentioned above.
In 1633 he painted the famous The Storm on the Sea of Galilee . It depicts the miracle Jesus performed while calming the storm. It is the only Rembrandt painting with a seascape setting.
Self-Portrait with Two Circles is one of many self-portraits and shows the artist at work. Rembrandt is holding his palette, brushes, and maulstick, there are two enigmatic circles in the background.
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp depicts the Dutch surgeon and later mayor of Amsterdam giving an anatomy lesson on the corpse of Aris Kindt, an executed criminal.
Danae is both one of Rembrandt’s best nude paintings and one of his greatest masterpieces. It depicts Danae, the mother of the ancient Greek mythological hero Perseus.