Steadfastly, Rembrandt van Rijn, the greatest Dutch portrait painter of all time, revealed his brilliance by creating realistic masterpieces of poor, working-class subjects, and the ones he loved and lost. Life Rembrandt van Rijn was born in Leiden, Netherlands on July 15, 1606. The son of Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn, a miller, and Neeltge van Suydtbrock, the daughter of a baker, Rembrandt was the youngest of at least nine children. At the age of seven, he attended the Latin School in Holland. Rembrandt then entered the University of Leiden seven years later.
His parents allowed him to take up painting, assisting him to Jacob van Swanenburgh, a pedestrian painter of portraits and architectural scenes. Rembrandt spent three years in Jacob’s studio, learning the mechanics of painting. In 1624, he traveled to Amsterdam to work for six years with Pieter Lastman, who made a deep impression on Rembrandt. In Pieter’s studio, mythological and religious subjects attracted Rembrandt. He especially became interested in Biblical subjects, shown in many of his works. At the age of nineteen, Rembrandt van Rijn returned to Leiden, as an independent artist, making headlines quickly.
In 1628, a jurist from Utrecht visited Leiden and wrote highly about Rembrandt in his notebook. “The Leiden miller’s son is greatly praised, but before his time” (White 19). On June 8, 1633, Rembrandt married Saskia van Ulenborch. Saskia was born on August 2, 1612. Her father, a former Burgomaster of Leeuwarden, past away when Saskia turned twelve. Many of Rembrandt’s works are of Saskia. Rembrandt and Saskia moved to Amsterdam and bought a house in Nieuw Doelenstraat. Unfortunately, Rembrandt faced financial difficulties as well that he never paid attention but would later affect him.
After Saskia gave birth to four children, only the last one, Titus, survived to grow up. Many believe that the birth of Titus explained Saskia’s fatal illness. On June 14, 1642, Saskia van Ulenborch died when Titus was only a year old. Five days later, she was buried in the Oude Kerk. In the 1640s, Rembrandt van Rijn hired Hendrickje Stoffels as his servant that later became his mistress after the death of Saskia. Yet, he could not marry Hendrickje or else he would have lost the income from Saskia’s part of the estate. Hendrickje played “Saskia’s role in all but name” (White 129).
Hendrickje and Titus became models in numerous works of Rembrandt. Rembrandt and his new partner soon had a girl named Cornelia. In 1653, Rembrandt began to face trouble, the worst year of the economic depression caused by the First Anglo-Dutch War. The war almost led to a financial collapse in Amsterdam. Rembrandt owed money for his house, paid no interest on the exorbitant amount for the past five years, and had let the original owner pay the taxes on the house for the past three years. Rembrandt van Rijn sold many of his possessions to pay off his debt.
He finally left his house and moved into a simpler one on the other side of the city, Jordaan. In July of 1663, Hendrickje Stoffels died. Many say that the plague could have possibly killed her. Her burial took place in the Westerkerk. Titus then administered and looked after his father’s affairs along with supporting his father financially. In February, 1668, Titus married Magdalena van Loo, the daughter of the silversmith, Jan van Loo. The newly-weds went to live on the Singel, where Magdalena’s mother lived; this left Rembrandt alone with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Cornelia.
Sadly, the marriage lasted approximately seven months before Titus died. Titus died in September and was buried in Westerkerk as well. However, Magdalena gave birth to a daughter named Titia six months after the death of Titus. About one year later, on October 4, 1669, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn died. His burial took place in Westerkerk where he would be buried with Hendrickje and Titus. Works The Night Watch, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, The Jewish Bride, Portrait Jan Six, Titus, and several other self-portraits are considered to be Rembrandt’s greatest works. Rembrandt van Rijn had a variety of themes in is works, ranging from mythological and religious subjects, landscapes, nudes, and portraits. He also had different techniques that were uncommon during his time ear such as glazing. During the course of his life, Rembrandt focused on different themes at one time. Every aspect of his art contained variety. Rembrandt was interested in portraits. The people closest to Rembrandt often appeared in his works. His main models consisted of Saskia, Titus, and Hendrickje as well as himself. His self-portraits gave an idea to viewers how Rembrandt felt at the time he painted them. Rembrandt’s interest in landscape evolved in the late 1630s.
Some of his drawings include imaginary, mountainous scenery. Many of his works consisted of basic everyday landscape including The Clump of Trees and other views in Amsterdam such as the River Amstel from the Blauwbrug, Diemen. Occasionally, he would paint more realistic images such as Winter Landscape and The Landscape with a Stone Bridge that pictured the scenery of a tributary. “Significantly, it provides human interest hardly less important than the landscape itself” (White 99). Detail was an important feature in Rembrandt’s paintings particularly his landscape paintings and drawings.
Rembrandt’s taste in mythological and religious subjects came from his second master, Pieter Lastman. Rembrandt’s Biblical subjects remained with him throughout his lifetime. However, a majority of these works appeared in the 1650s. Examples include Christ appearing to the Apostles, Christ taken Prisoner, and Nathan admonishing David. “They provided a means of expression of Rembrandt in private” (White 169). Impact Rembrandt van Rijn had a great influence on the art world today. He had many styles of painting techniques. The tremendously, successful artist began to use a new style of the time, glazing.
Rembrandt laid down a base coat and then put semitransparent layers of paint over it. Light would then pass through each color and reflect back, giving the painting a beautiful glow. As well as glazing, the artist started experimenting with a new style where he would mix globs of paints directly on the canvas. The newly created style influenced much of the expressionist and other modern movements in paintings. The artist became a master of chiaroscuro, meaning light and dark. Rembrandt brought a new meaning to the world of art. In Amsterdam, he set up a school where he taught his pupils his art styles.
Many later artists adopted his technique of painting, etching, and drawing. The school created successful, young painters just like Rembrandt such as Gerrit Dou, Govert Flinck, Ferdinand Bol, Nicolaes Maes, and Carel Fabritius. Conclusion Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn found his talent at a very early age. His success grew as time passed on. However, Rembrandt faced many tragedies in his later years. He faced a significant amount of deaths especially in his family and financial difficulties, forcing him to sell his house and possessions to pay off the dept.
The 17th century painter, who dominated the Dutch Golden Age, remains to be one of the most revered artists of all time. Rembrandt’s works show his greatest achievements. The well-known artist had a variation of themes, mostly caused by his second master, Pieter Lastman. Rembrandt van Rijn changed the way people viewed art. His precision inspired other artists to follow in his footsteps. Bibliography http://art. docuwat. ch/videos/great-artists/great-artists-rembrandt/? channel_id=0 Ernst van de, Wetering. “Rembrandt Van Rijn. ” Britannica Biographies (2012): 1. History Reference Center. Web. 15 May 2013. Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. ” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2nd ed. Vol. 13. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 91-95. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 15 May 2013. “Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. ” 2013. The Biography Channel website. May 15 2013, 08:54. “Rembrandt van Rijn”. Encyclop? dia Britannica. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. Encyclop? dia Britannica Inc. , 2013. Web. 15 May. 2013. Rollyson, Carl. “Rembrandt. ” Great Lives from History: The Seventeenth Century. Ed. Larissa Juliet Taylor. Salem Press, 2006. Salem History Web. 15 May. 2013. White, Christopher. Rembrandt. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. , 1984.