Rembrandt

Rembrandt

Overview
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)soːn vɑn ˈrɛin, 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 painter and etcher
Etching
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history
History of the Netherlands
The history of the Netherlands is the history of a maritime people thriving on a watery lowland river delta at the edge of northwestern Europe. When the Romans and written history arrived in 57 BC, the country was sparsely populated by various tribal groups at the periphery of the empire...

. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, when Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade,...

, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative.

Having achieved youthful success as a portrait
Portrait painting
Portrait painting is a genre in painting, where the intent is to depict the visual appearance of the subject. Beside human beings, animals, pets and even inanimate objects can be chosen as the subject for a portrait...

 painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships.
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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)soːn vɑn ˈrɛin, 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 painter and etcher
Etching
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history
History of the Netherlands
The history of the Netherlands is the history of a maritime people thriving on a watery lowland river delta at the edge of northwestern Europe. When the Romans and written history arrived in 57 BC, the country was sparsely populated by various tribal groups at the periphery of the empire...

. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, when Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history generally spanning the 17th century, during and after the later part of the Eighty Years War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe, and led European trade,...

, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative.

Having achieved youthful success as a portrait
Portrait painting
Portrait painting is a genre in painting, where the intent is to depict the visual appearance of the subject. Beside human beings, animals, pets and even inanimate objects can be chosen as the subject for a portrait...

 painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portrait
Self-portrait
A self-portrait is a representation of an artist, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by the artist. Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid 15th century that artists can be frequently identified depicting...

s and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.

In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt's knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

's Jewish population
Jewish Amsterdam
Amsterdam has historically been the center of the Dutch Jewish community, and has had a continuing Jewish community for the last 370 years. Amsterdam is also known under the name "Mokum", given to the city by its Jewish inhabitants...

. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization."

Life



Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on 15 July 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, nowadays the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. He was the ninth child born to Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn and Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck. His family was quite well-to-do; his father was a miller and his mother was a baker's daughter. As a boy he attended Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 school and was enrolled at the University of Leiden, although according to a contemporary he had a greater inclination towards painting; he was soon apprenticed to a Leiden history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh
Jacob van Swanenburgh
Jacob van Swanenburg , was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He was the oldest of the three sons of Isaac van Swanenburg and a master of the young Rembrandt.-Biography:...

, with whom he spent three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship of six months with the famous painter Pieter Lastman
Pieter Lastman
Pieter Lastman was a Dutch painter . Lastman is considered important because of his work as a painter of history pieces and because his pupils included Rembrandt and Jan Lievens...

 in Amsterdam, Rembrandt opened a studio in Leiden in 1624 or 1625, which he shared with friend and colleague Jan Lievens
Jan Lievens
Jan Lievens was a Dutch painter, usually associated with Rembrandt, working in a similar style.-Biography:According to Arnold Houbraken, Jan was the son of Lieven Hendriksze, a tapestry worker , and was trained by Joris Verschoten. He was sent to Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam at about the age of 10...

. In 1627, Rembrandt began to accept students, among them Gerrit Dou.

In 1629 Rembrandt was discovered by the statesman Constantijn Huygens
Constantijn Huygens
Constantijn Huygens , was a Dutch Golden Age poet and composer. He was secretary to two Princes of Orange: Frederick Henry and William II, and the father of the scientist Christiaan Huygens.-Biography:...

, the father of Christiaan Huygens (a famous Dutch mathematician and physicist), who procured for Rembrandt important commissions from the court of The Hague. As a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik continued to purchase paintings from Rembrandt until 1646.

At the end of 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, then rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, and began to practice as a professional portraitist for the first time, with great success. He initially stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburg, and in 1634, married Hendrick's cousin, Saskia van Uylenburg
Saskia van Uylenburg
Saskia van Uylenburgh was the daughter of a Frisian mayor. She did not marry an academic, but became the wife of painter Rembrandt van Rijn, who was the son of a wealthy miller from Leiden...

. Saskia came from a good family: her father had been lawyer and burgemeester (mayor) of Leeuwarden. When Saskia, as the youngest daughter, became an orphan, she lived with an older sister in Het Bildt
Het Bildt
het Bildt is a municipality in the province of Friesland in the northern Netherlands; its capital is Sint Annaparochie. As of 1 November 2006 it had a population of 10,975. Het Bildt has 15.4 kilometers of coastline...

. Rembrandt and Saskia were married in the local church of St. Annaparochie without the presence of Rembrandt's relatives. In the same year, Rembrandt became a burgess of Amsterdam and a member of the local guild of painters. He also acquired a number of students, among them Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol was a Dutch artist, etcher, and draftsman. Although his surviving work is rare, it displays Rembrandt's influence; like his master, Bol favored historical subjects, portraits, numerous self-portraits, and single figures in exotic finery.The street Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam was...

 and Govert Flinck
Govert Flinck
Govert Teuniszoon Flinck was a Dutch painter of the Dutch Golden Age.-Life:Born at Kleve, he was apprenticed by his father to a silk mercer, but having secretly acquired a passion for drawing, was sent to Leeuwarden, where he boarded in the house of Lambert Jacobszoon, a Mennonite, better known...

.
In 1635 Rembrandt and Saskia moved into their own house, renting in fashionable Nieuwe Doelenstraat. In 1639 they moved to a prominent house (now the Rembrandt House Museum
Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum is a house in Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where Rembrandt lived and painted for a number of years. It is now a museum...

) in the Jodenbreestraat
Jodenbreestraat
The Jodenbreestraat is a street in the centre of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The street runs from the Sint Antoniesluis sluice gates to the Mr. Visserplein traffic circle...

 in what was becoming the Jewish quarter; the mortgage
Mortgage loan
A mortgage loan is a loan secured by real property through the use of a mortgage note which evidences the existence of the loan and the encumbrance of that realty through the granting of a mortgage which secures the loan...

 to finance the 13,000 guilder
Guilder
Guilder is the English translation of the Dutch gulden — from Old Dutch for 'golden'. The guilder originated as a gold coin but has been a common name for a silver or base metal coin for some centuries...

 purchase would be a primary cause for later financial difficulties. Rembrandt should easily have been able to pay the house off with his large income, but it appears his spending always kept pace with his income, and he may have made some unsuccessful investments. It was there that Rembrandt frequently sought his Jewish neighbors to model for his Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 scenes. Although they were by now affluent, the couple suffered several personal setbacks; their son Rumbartus died two months after his birth in 1635 and their daughter Cornelia died at just three weeks of age in 1638. In 1640, they had a second daughter, also named Cornelia, who died after living barely over a month. Only their fourth child, Titus
Titus van Rijn
Titus van Rijn was the fourth and only surviving child of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and Saskia van Uylenburgh...

, who was born in 1641, survived into adulthood. Saskia died in 1642 soon after Titus's birth, probably from tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

. Rembrandt's drawings of her on her sick and death bed are among his most moving works.

During Saskia's illness, Geertje Dircx
Geertje Dircx
Geertje Dircx was hired by Rembrandt van Rijn as a wetnurse to the painter's son Titus and also became Rembrandt's model and lover. Rembrandt furthered her being imprisoned after she had charged him with breach of promise.-In Rembrandt's service:Geertje was born in Edam. Between 1630 and 1640,...

 was hired as Titus' caretaker and nurse and also became Rembrandt's lover. She would later charge Rembrandt with breach of promise and was awarded alimony of 200 guilders a year. Rembrandt worked to have her committed for twelve years to an asylum or poorhouse (called a "bridewell") at Gouda
Gouda
Gouda is a city and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. Gouda, which was granted city rights in 1272, is famous for its Gouda cheese, smoking pipes, and 15th-century city hall....

, after learning she had pawned jewelry that had once belonged to Saskia and that he had given to her.

In the late 1640s Rembrandt began a relationship with the much younger Hendrickje Stoffels
Hendrickje Stoffels
Hendrickje Stoffels was a model and mistress of Rembrandt.-Youth:Hendrickje was born in the garrison city of Bredevoort, Gelderland, the daughter of sergeant Stoffel Stoffelse and Mechteld Lamberts...

, who had initially been his maid. In 1654 they had a daughter, Cornelia, bringing Hendrickje a summons from the Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It existed from the 1570s to 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the...

 to answer the charge "that she had committed the acts of a whore with Rembrandt the painter". She admitted this and was banned from receiving communion. Rembrandt was not summoned to appear for the Church council because he was not a member of the Reformed Church. The two were considered legally wed under common law, but Rembrandt had not married Henrickje, so as not to lose access to a trust set up for Titus in the son's mother's will.
Rembrandt lived beyond his means, buying art (including bidding up his own work), prints (often used in his paintings), and rarities, which probably caused a court arrangement to avoid his bankruptcy in 1656, by selling most of his paintings and large collection of antiquities. The sale list survives and gives us a good insight into Rembrandt's collections, which apart from Old Master
Old Master
"Old Master" is a term for a European painter of skill who worked before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print made by an artist in the same period...

 paintings and drawings included busts of the Roman Emperors, suits of Japanese armor among many objects from Asia, and collections of natural history and minerals; the prices realized in the sales in 1657 and 1658 were disappointing. Rembrandt was forced to sell his house and his printing-press and move to more modest accommodation on the Rozengracht in 1660. The authorities and his creditors were generally accommodating to him, except for the Amsterdam painters' guild, who introduced a new rule that no one in Rembrandt's circumstances could trade as a painter. To get round this, Hendrickje and Titus set up a business as art-dealers in 1660, with Rembrandt as an employee.

In 1661 Rembrandt (or rather the new business) was contracted to complete work for the newly built city hall, but only after Govert Flinck, the artist previously commissioned, died without beginning to paint. The resulting work, The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis is a 1661–62 oil painting by the Dutch painter Rembrandt, which was originally the largest he ever painted, at around five-by-five metres in the shape of a lunette. The painting was commissioned by the Amsterdam city council for the Town Hall. After the work had...

, was rejected and returned to the painter; the surviving fragment is only a fraction of the whole work. It was around this time that Rembrandt took on his last apprentice, Aert de Gelder
Aert de Gelder
Aert de Gelder was a Dutch painter.De Gelder was born and died in Dordrecht. He was one of Rembrandt’s last pupils while in Amsterdam, studying in his studio from 1661 to 1663...

. In 1662 he was still fulfilling major commissions for portraits and other works. When Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Cosimo III de' Medici was the penultimate Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany. He reigned from 1670 to 1723, and was the elder son of Grand Duke Ferdinando II. Cosimo's 53-year long reign, the longest in Tuscan history, was marked by a series of ultra-reactionary laws which regulated prostitution and...

 came to Amsterdam in 1667, he visited Rembrandt at his house.

Rembrandt outlived both Hendrickje, who died in 1663, and Titus, who died in 1668, leaving a baby daughter. He died within a year of his son, on October 4, 1669 in Amsterdam, and was buried in an unmarked grave in the Westerkerk
Westerkerk
The Westerkerk is a church of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands denomination in Amsterdam, built in 1620-1631 after a design by Hendrick de Keyser. It is next to Amsterdam's Jordaan district, on the bank of the Prinsengracht canal....

.

Works



In a letter to Huyghens, Rembrandt offered the only surviving explanation of what he sought to achieve through his art: the greatest and most natural movement, translated from de meeste en de natuurlijkste beweegelijkheid. The word "beweechgelickhijt" is also argued to mean "emotion" or "motive." Whether this refers to objectives, material or otherwise is open to interpretation; either way, Rembrandt seamlessly melded the earthly and spiritual as has no other painter in Western art.

Earlier 20th century connoisseurs claimed Rembrandt had produced over 600 paintings, nearly 400 etching
Etching
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

s and 2,000 drawings. More recent scholarship, from the 1960s to the present day (led by the Rembrandt Research Project
Rembrandt Research Project
The Rembrandt Research Project is an initiative of the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek , which is the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Its purpose is to organize and categorize research on Rembrandt, with the aim of discovering new facts about this Dutch...

), often controversially, has winnowed his oeuvre to nearer 300 paintings. His prints
Old master print
An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition . A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term. The main techniques concerned are woodcut, engraving and etching, although there are...

, traditionally all called etching
Etching
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

s, although many are produced in whole or part by engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

 and sometimes drypoint
Drypoint
Drypoint is a printmaking technique of the intaglio family, in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed "needle" of sharp metal or diamond point. Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are also commonly used...

, have a much more stable total of slightly under 300. It is likely Rembrandt made many more drawings in his lifetime than 2,000, but those extant are more rare than presumed. Two experts claim that the number of drawings whose autograph status can be regarded as effectively "certain" is no higher than about 75, although this is disputed. The list was to be unveiled at a scholarly meeting in February 2010.

At one time about ninety paintings were counted as Rembrandt self-portraits, but it is now known that he had his students copy his own self-portraits as part of their training. Modern scholarship has reduced the autograph count to over forty paintings, as well as a few drawings and thirty-one etchings, which include many of the most remarkable images of the group. Some show him posing in quasi-historical fancy dress, or pulling faces at himself. His oil paintings trace the progress from an uncertain young man, through the dapper and very successful portrait-painter of the 1630s, to the troubled but massively powerful portraits of his old age. Together they give a remarkably clear picture of the man, his appearance and his psychological make-up, as revealed by his richly weathered face.

In a number of biblical works, including The Raising of the Cross, Joseph Telling His Dreams and The Stoning of Saint Stephen
The Stoning of Saint Stephen
The Stoning of Saint Stephen is the first painting by Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted in 1625 at the age of 19. It is currently kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.This work is inspired by the martyrdom of Saint Stephen which is recounted in Acts 7...

, Rembrandt painted himself as a character in the crowd. Durham suggests that this was because the Bible was for Rembrandt "a kind of diary, an account of moments in his own life."

Among the more prominent characteristics of Rembrandt's work are his use of chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro
Chiaroscuro in art is "an Italian term which literally means 'light-dark'. In paintings the description refers to clear tonal contrasts which are often used to suggest the volume and modelling of the subjects depicted"....

, the theatrical employment of light and shadow derived from Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

, or, more likely, from the Dutch Caravaggisti
Utrecht School
Utrecht Caravaggism refers to those Baroque artists, all distinctly influenced by the art of Caravaggio, who were active mostly in the Dutch city of Utrecht during the early part of the seventeenth century....

, but adapted for very personal means. Also notable are his dramatic and lively presentation of subjects, devoid of the rigid formality that his contemporaries often displayed, and a deeply felt compassion for mankind, irrespective of wealth and age. His immediate family—his wife Saskia, his son Titus and his common-law wife Hendrickje—often figured prominently in his paintings, many of which had mythical
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, biblical or historical themes.

Periods, themes and styles



Throughout his career Rembrandt took as his primary subjects the themes of portraiture, landscape and narrative painting. For the last, he was especially praised by his contemporaries, who extolled him as a masterly interpreter of biblical stories for his skill in representing emotions and attention to detail. Stylistically, his paintings progressed from the early "smooth" manner, characterized by fine technique in the portrayal of illusionistic form, to the late "rough" treatment of richly variegated paint surfaces, which allowed for an illusionism of form suggested by the tactile quality of the paint itself.

A parallel development may be seen in Rembrandt's skill as a printmaker. In the etchings of his maturity, particularly from the late 1640s onward, the freedom and breadth of his drawings and paintings found expression in the print medium as well. The works encompass a wide range of subject matter and technique, sometimes leaving large areas of white paper to suggest space, at other times employing complex webs of line to produce rich dark tones.

It was during Rembrandt's Leiden period (1625–1631) that Lastman's influence was most prominent. It is also likely that at this time Lievens had a strong impact on his work as well. Paintings were rather small, but rich in details (for example, in costumes and jewelry). Religious and allegorical
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 themes were favored, as were tronie
Tronie
A tronie is a common type, or group of types, of works of Dutch Golden Age painting and Flemish Baroque painting that shows an exaggerated facial expression or a stock character in costume...

s. In 1626 Rembrandt produced his first etchings, the wide dissemination of which would largely account for his international fame. In 1629 he completed Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver and The Artist in His Studio, works that evidence his interest in the handling of light and variety of paint application, and constitute the first major progress in his development as a painter.

During his early years in Amsterdam (1632–1636), Rembrandt began to paint dramatic biblical and mythological scenes in high contrast and of large format (The Blinding of Samson, 1636, Belshazzar's Feast
Belshazzar's Feast (Rembrandt)
Belshazzar's Feast is a c 1635 painting by Rembrandt. Its source comes from the story of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. It is held in the The National Gallery, London....

, c. 1635 Danaë
Danaë (Rembrandt)
Danaë is Rembrandt's painting from the collection of Pierre Crozat which from the 18th century resides in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. It is a life-sized depiction of the character Danaë from Greek mythology, the mother of Perseus. She is presumably depicted as welcoming Zeus, who...

, 1636), seeking to emulate the baroque style of Rubens
Rubens
Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens , the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens (composer) Rubens is...

. With the occasional help of assistants in Uylenburgh's workshop, he painted numerous portrait commissions both small (Jacob de Gheyn III
Jacob de Gheyn III (painting)
Jacob de Gheyn III, also known as Jacob III de Gheyn , was a Dutch Golden Age engraver, son of Jacob de Gheyn II, canon of Utrecht , and the subject of a 1632 oil painting by Rembrandt. The portrait is half of a pair of pendent portraits...

) and large (Portrait of the Shipbuilder Jan Rijcksen and his Wife, 1633, Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is a 1632 oil painting by Rembrandt housed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is pictured explaining the musculature of the arm to medical professionals. Some of the spectators are various doctors who paid commissions...

, 1632).

By the late 1630s Rembrandt had produced a few paintings and many etchings of landscapes. Often these landscapes highlighted natural drama, featuring uprooted trees and ominous skies (Cottages before a Stormy Sky, c. 1641, The Three Trees, 1643). From 1640 his work became less exuberant and more sober in tone, possibly reflecting personal tragedy. Biblical scenes were now derived more often from the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 than the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

, as had been the case before. In 1642 he painted The Night Watch
Night Watch (painting)
Night Watch or The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq is the common name of one of the most famous works by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn....

, the most notable of the important group portrait commissions which he received in this period, and through which he sought to find solutions to compositional and narrative problems that had been attempted in previous works.

In the decade following the Night Watch, Rembrandt's paintings varied greatly in size, subject, and style. The previous tendency to create dramatic effects primarily by strong contrasts of light and shadow gave way to the use of frontal lighting and larger and more saturated areas of color. Simultaneously, figures came to be placed parallel to the picture plane. These changes can be seen as a move toward a classical mode of composition and, considering the more expressive use of brushwork as well, may indicate a familiarity with Venetian art (Susanna and the Elders, 1637–47).
At the same time, there was a marked decrease in painted works in favor of etchings and drawings of landscapes. In these graphic works natural drama eventually made way for quiet Dutch rural scenes.

In the 1650s, Rembrandt's style changed again. Colors became richer and brush strokes more pronounced. With these changes, Rembrandt distanced himself from earlier work and current fashion, which increasingly inclined toward fine, detailed works. His singular approach to paint application may have been suggested in part by familiarity with the work of Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

, and could be seen in the context of the then current discussion of 'finish' and surface quality of paintings. Contemporary accounts sometimes remark disapprovingly of the coarseness of Rembrandt's brushwork, and the artist himself was said to have dissuaded visitors from looking too closely at his paintings. The tactile manipulation of paint may hearken to medieval procedures, when mimetic effects of rendering informed a painting's surface. The end result is a richly varied handling of paint, deeply layered and often apparently haphazard, which suggests form and space in both an illusory and highly individual manner.

In later years biblical themes were still depicted often, but emphasis shifted from dramatic group scenes to intimate portrait-like figures (James the Apostle, 1661). In his last years, Rembrandt painted his most deeply reflective self-portraits (from 1652 to 1669 he painted fifteen), and several moving images of both men and women (The Jewish Bride
The Jewish Bride
The Jewish Bride is a painting by Rembrandt, executed around 1667.The painting gained its current name in the early 19th century, when an Amsterdam art collector identified the subject as that of a Jewish father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day. This interpretation is no...

, c. 1666)—in love, in life, and before God.

Etchings



Rembrandt produced etchings for most of his career, from 1626 to 1660, when he was forced to sell his printing-press and virtually abandoned etching. Only the troubled year of 1649 produced no dated work. He took easily to etching and, though he also learned to use a burin
Burin
Burin from the French burin meaning "cold chisel" has two specialised meanings for types of tools in English, one meaning a steel cutting tool which is the essential tool of engraving, and the other, in archaeology, meaning a special type of lithic flake with a chisel-like edge which was probably...

 and partly engraved
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

 many plates, the freedom of etching technique was fundamental to his work. He was very closely involved in the whole process of printmaking, and must have printed at least early examples of his etchings himself. At first he used a style based on drawing, but soon moved to one based on painting, using a mass of lines and numerous bitings with the acid to achieve different strengths of line. Towards the end of the 1630s, he reacted against this manner and moved to a simpler style, with fewer bitings. He worked on the so-called Hundred Guilder Print
Hundred Guilder Print
The Hundred Guilder Print is an etching by Rembrandt. The etching's popular name derives from the large sum of money supposedly once paid for an impression...

in stages throughout the 1640s, and it was the "critical work in the middle of his career", from which his final etching style began to emerge.
Although the print only survives in two states
State (printmaking)
A state, in printmaking, is a different form of a print, caused by a deliberate and permanent change to a matrix such as a copper plate or woodblock ....

, the first very rare, evidence of much reworking can be seen underneath the final print and many drawings survive for elements of it.

In the mature works of the 1650s, Rembrandt was more ready to improvise on the plate and large prints typically survive in several states, up to eleven, often radically changed. He now uses hatching
Hatching
Hatching is an artistic technique used to create tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines...

 to create his dark areas, which often take up much of the plate. He also experimented with the effects of printing on different kinds of paper, including Japanese paper, which he used frequently, and on vellum
Vellum
Vellum is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on, to produce single pages, scrolls, codices or books. It is generally smooth and durable, although there are great variations depending on preparation, the quality of the skin and the type of animal used...

. He began to use "surface tone," leaving a thin film of ink on parts of the plate instead of wiping it completely clean to print each impression. He made more use of drypoint
Drypoint
Drypoint is a printmaking technique of the intaglio family, in which an image is incised into a plate with a hard-pointed "needle" of sharp metal or diamond point. Traditionally the plate was copper, but now acetate, zinc, or plexiglas are also commonly used...

, exploiting, especially in landscapes, the rich fuzzy burr that this technique gives to the first few impressions.

His prints have similar subjects to his paintings, although the twenty-seven self-portraits are relatively more common, and portraits of other people less so. There are forty-six landscapes, mostly small, which largely set the course for the graphic treatment of landscape until the end of the 19th century. One third of his etchings are of religious subjects, many treated with a homely simplicity, whilst others are his most monumental prints. A few erotic, or just obscene, compositions have no equivalent in his paintings. He owned, until forced to sell it, a magnificent collection of prints by other artists, and many borrowings and influences in his work can be traced to artists as diverse as Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, Hercules Segers, and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione was an Italian Baroque artist, painter, printmaker and draftsman, of the Genoese school. He is best known now for his elaborate engravings, and as the inventor of the printmaking technique of monotyping. He was known as Il Grechetto in Italy and in France as Le...

.

Night Watch



Rembrandt painted The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq between 1640 and 1642. This picture was called the Nachtwacht by the Dutch and the Night Watch by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA was an influential 18th-century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the "Grand Style" in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first President of the Royal Academy...

 because by the 18th century the picture was so dimmed and defaced by time that it was almost indistinguishable and it looked quite like a night scene. After it was cleaned, it was discovered to represent broad day—a party of musketeer
Musketeer
A musketeer was an early modern type of infantry soldier equipped with a musket. Musketeers were an important part of early modern armies, particularly in Europe. They sometimes could fight on horseback, like a dragoon or a cavalryman...

s stepping from a gloomy courtyard into the blinding sunlight.

The piece was commissioned for the new hall of the Kloveniersdoelen, the musketeer branch of the civic militia. Rembrandt departed from convention, which ordered that such genre pieces should be stately and formal, rather a line-up than an action scene. Instead he showed the militia readying themselves to embark on a mission (what kind of mission, an ordinary patrol or some special event, is a matter of debate).

Contrary to what is often said, the work was hailed as a success from the beginning. Parts of the canvas were cut off (approximately 20% from the left hand side was removed) to make the painting fit its new position when it was moved to Amsterdam town hall in 1715; the Rijksmuseum has a smaller copy of what is thought to be the full original composition; the four figures in the front are at the centre of the canvas. The painting is now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Expert assessments



In 1968 the Rembrandt Research Project was started under the sponsorship of the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Scientific Research; it was initially expected to last a highly optimistic ten years. Art historians teamed up with experts from other fields to reassess the authenticity of works attributed to Rembrandt, using all methods available, including state-of-the-art technical diagnostics, and to compile a complete new catalogue raisonné
Catalogue raisonné
The typical catalogue raisonné is a monograph giving a comprehensive catalogue of artworks by an artist.The essential elements of a catalogue raisonné are that it purports to be an exhaustive list of works for a defined subject matter describing the works in a way so that they may be reliably...

 of his paintings. As a result of their findings, many paintings that were previously attributed to Rembrandt have been removed from their list, although others have been added back. Many of those removed are now thought to be the work of his students.

One example of activity is The Polish Rider
The Polish Rider
The Polish Rider is a 1655 painting of a man traveling on horseback through a murky landscape, now in the Frick Collection in New York. When the painting was bought by Henry Frick in 1910, there was consensus that the work was by 17th-century Dutch painter Rembrandt...

, in New York's Frick Collection
Frick Collection
The Frick Collection is an art museum located in Manhattan, New York City, United States.- History :It is housed in the former Henry Clay Frick House, which was designed by Thomas Hastings and constructed in 1913-1914. John Russell Pope altered and enlarged the building in the early 1930s to adapt...

. Its authenticity had been questioned years before by several scholars, led by Julius Held. Many, including Dr. Josua Bruyn of the Foundation Rembrandt Research Project, attributed the painting to one of Rembrandt's closest and most talented pupils, Willem Drost
Willem Drost
Willem Drost was a Dutch Golden Age painter and printmaker of history paintings and portraits who died young.-Biography:...

, about whom little is known. The Frick itself never changed its own attribution, the label still reading "Rembrandt" and not "attributed to" or "school of". More recent opinion has shifted in favor of the Frick, with Simon Schama
Simon Schama
Simon Michael Schama, CBE is a British historian and art historian. He is a University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University. He is best known for writing and hosting the 15-part BBC documentary series A History of Britain...

 in his 1999 book Rembrandt's Eyes, and a Rembrandt Project scholar, Ernst van de Wetering (Melbourne Symposium, 1997) both arguing for attribution to the master. Many scholars feel that the execution is uneven, and favour different attributions for different parts of the work.
Another painting, Pilate Washing His Hands, is also of questionable attribution. Critical opinion of this picture has varied since 1905, when Wilhelm von Bode described it as "a somewhat abnormal work" by Rembrandt. Scholars have since dated the painting to the 1660s and assigned it to an anonymous pupil, possibly Arent de Gelder. The composition bears superficial resemblance to mature works by Rembrandt but lacks the master's command of illumination and modeling.

The attribution and re-attribution work is ongoing. In 2005 four oil paintings previously attributed to Rembrandt's students were reclassified as the work of Rembrandt himself: Study of an Old Man in Profile and Study of an Old Man with a Beard from a US private collection, Study of a Weeping Woman, owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts is a renowned art museum in the city of Detroit. In 2003, the DIA ranked as the second largest municipally owned museum in the United States, with an art collection valued at more than one billion dollars...

, and Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet, painted in 1640.

Rembrandt's own studio practice is a major factor in the difficulty of attribution, since, like many masters before him, he encouraged his students to copy his paintings, sometimes finishing or retouching them to be sold as originals, and sometimes selling them as authorized copies. Additionally, his style proved easy enough for his most talented students to emulate. Further complicating matters is the uneven quality of some of Rembrandt's own work, and his frequent stylistic evolutions and experiments. As well, there were later imitations of his work, and restorations which so seriously damaged the original works that they are no longer recognizable. It is highly likely that there will never be universal agreement as to what does and what does not constitute a genuine Rembrandt.

Name and signature



"Rembrandt" is a modification of the spelling of the artist's first name that he introduced in 1633. Roughly speaking, his earliest signatures (ca. 1625) consisted of an initial "R", or the monogram "RH" (for Rembrant Harmenszoon; i.e. "Rembrant, the son of Harmen"), and starting in 1629, "RHL" (the "L" stood, presumably, for Leiden). In 1632, he used this monogram early in the year, then added his patronymic
Patronymic
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

 to it, "RHL-van Rijn", but replaced this form in that same year and began using his first name alone with its original spelling, "Rembrant". In 1633 he added a "d", and maintained this form consistently from then on, proving that this minor change had a meaning for him (whatever it might have been). This change is purely visual; it does not change the way his name is pronounced. Curiously enough, despite the large number of paintings and etchings signed with this modified first name, most of their documents that mentioned him during his lifetime retained the original "Rembrant" spelling. (Note: the rough chronology of signature forms above applies to the paintings, and to a lesser degree to the etchings; from 1632, presumably, there is only one etching signed "RHL-v. Rijn," the large-format "Raising of Lazarus," B 73). His practice of signing his work with his first name, later followed by Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

, was probably inspired by Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 and Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 who, then as now, were referred to by their first names alone.

Optical theory


A letter published in 2004 by Margaret S. Livingstone, professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

, suggests that Rembrandt, whose eye
Human eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes. As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth...

s failed to align correctly, suffered from stereo blindness. This conclusion was made after studying 36 of Rembrandt's self-portraits. Because he could not form a normal binocular vision
Binocular vision
Binocular vision is vision in which both eyes are used together. The word binocular comes from two Latin roots, bini for double, and oculus for eye. Having two eyes confers at least four advantages over having one. First, it gives a creature a spare eye in case one is damaged. Second, it gives a...

, his brain automatically switched to one eye for many visual tasks. This disability could have helped him to flatten images he saw, and then put it onto the two-dimensional canvas
Canvas
Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame...

. Livingstone theorized that this was an advantage for the painter: "Art teachers often instruct students to close one eye in order to flatten what they see. Therefore, stereo blindness might not be a handicap
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

—and might even be an asset—for some artists."

Workshop


It is known that Rembrandt ran a large workshop and had many pupils. His fame was such that important dignitaries visiting Amsterdam wished to buy pieces, and he was more than willing to comply if he could. The list of Rembrandt pupils from his period in Leiden as well as his time in Amsterdam is quite long, mostly because his influence on painters around him was so great that it is difficult to tell whether someone worked for him in his studio or just copied his style for patrons eager to acquire a Rembrandt. A partial list should include Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol was a Dutch artist, etcher, and draftsman. Although his surviving work is rare, it displays Rembrandt's influence; like his master, Bol favored historical subjects, portraits, numerous self-portraits, and single figures in exotic finery.The street Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam was...

,
Adriaen Brouwer
Adriaen Brouwer
Adriaen Brouwer was a Flemish genre painter active in Flanders and the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century.-Biography:...

,
Gerrit Dou,
Willem Drost
Willem Drost
Willem Drost was a Dutch Golden Age painter and printmaker of history paintings and portraits who died young.-Biography:...

,
Heiman Dullaart
Heiman Dullaart
Heyman Dullaert or Dullaart was a Dutch Golden Age painter and poet.-Biography:He was a student of Rembrandt, but was better known for his poetry than for his artwork...

,
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
Gerbrand van den Eeckhout , was a Dutch Golden Age painter and a favourite student of Rembrandt. He was also an etcher, an amateur poet, a collector and an adviser on art.-Biography:...

,
Carel Fabritius
Carel Fabritius
Carel Fabritius was a Dutch painter and one of Rembrandt's most gifted pupils.-Biography:Fabritius was born in Beemster, the ten-year old polder, as the son of a schoolteacher. Initially he worked as a carpenter . In the early 1640s he studied at Rembrandt's studio in Amsterdam, along with his...

,
Govert Flinck
Govert Flinck
Govert Teuniszoon Flinck was a Dutch painter of the Dutch Golden Age.-Life:Born at Kleve, he was apprenticed by his father to a silk mercer, but having secretly acquired a passion for drawing, was sent to Leeuwarden, where he boarded in the house of Lambert Jacobszoon, a Mennonite, better known...

,
Hendrick Fromantiou
Hendrick Fromantiou
Hendrik de Fromantiou was a Dutch still life painter.-Early life:In his youth, he produced works for the art dealer Gerrit van Uylenburgh in Amsterdam and from 1658 he was active in The Hague.-Career:...

,
Arent de Gelder,
Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten
Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten
Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten was a Dutch painter of the Golden Age.-Biography:Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten was born and died in Dordrecht. He was...

,
Abraham Janssens
Abraham Janssens
Abraham Janssens van Nuyssen was a Flemish Baroque painter.He was born at Antwerp, in a year variously reported between 1567 and 1576. He studied under Jan Snellinck, was a master in 1602, and in 1607 was dean of the master-painters...

,
Godfrey Kneller
Godfrey Kneller
Sir Godfrey Kneller, 1st Baronet was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to British monarchs from Charles II to George I...

,
Philip de Koninck
Philip de Koninck
Philip de Koninck, or Philips Koninck was a Dutch landscape painter and younger brother of Jacob Koninck....

,
Jacob Levecq
Jacob Levecq
-Biography:According to Houbraken, who was his pupil during the last 9 months of his life, he had been trained by Rembrandt, but inherited a sum of money when his parents died, that he used to take care of himself, his two unmarried sisters and a blind half-brother...

,
Nicolaes Maes
Nicolaes Maes
Nicolaes Maes, also known as Nicolaes Maas was a Dutch Golden Age painter of genre and portraits.-Biography:...

,
Jürgen Ovens
Jürgen Ovens
Jürgen Ovens , also known as Georg, or Jurriaen Ovens whilst in the Netherlands, was a portrait painter from North Frisia and, according to Arnold Houbraken, a pupil of Rembrandt...

,
Christopher Paudiß
Christopher Paudiß
thumb|Loth und seine Töchter Christoph Paudiß was a Bavarian Baroque painter and a student of Rembrandt van Rijn.- Life :...

,
Willem de Poorter
Willem de Poorter
-Biography:According to Houbraken he painted a very good Queen of Sheba, but he painted mostly still lifes.His surviving paintings today are mainly small historical allegories and still lifes with metal objects. Though he has been considered in the past by 19th century historians to have been a...

,
Jan Victors
Jan Victors
Jan Victors or Fictor was a Dutch Golden Age painter that focused mainly on painting subject from the Bible.-Biography:...

, and
Willem van der Vliet
Willem van der Vliet
Willem van der Vliet was a Dutch Golden Age painter.-Biography:Van der Vliet was born and died in Delft. According to Houbraken his paintings are historical allegories and portraits. Records of his paintings are noted by the Delft history writer . He had his nephew Hendrick Cornelisz...

.

Museum collections


The most notable collections of Rembrandt's work are at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, including De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch
Night Watch (painting)
Night Watch or The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq is the common name of one of the most famous works by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn....

) and Het Joodse bruidje (The Jewish Bride
The Jewish Bride
The Jewish Bride is a painting by Rembrandt, executed around 1667.The painting gained its current name in the early 19th century, when an Amsterdam art collector identified the subject as that of a Jewish father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day. This interpretation is no...

), The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

's Mauritshuis
Mauritshuis
The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is an art museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Previously the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, it now has a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans...

, Hermitage Museum
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

, St. Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, the National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
The Gemäldegalerie is an art museum in Berlin, Germany. It holds one of the world's leading collections of European art from the 13th to the 18th centuries. It is located on Kulturforum west of Potsdamer Platz. Its collection includes masterpieces from such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas...

, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden features major works of art. It is located in the gallery wing of the Zwinger....

 in Dresden, New York City, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, The Louvre, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, and Kassel
Kassel
Kassel is a town located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Kassel Regierungsbezirk and the Kreis of the same name and has approximately 195,000 inhabitants.- History :...

. His home, preserved as the Rembrandt House Museum
Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum is a house in Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where Rembrandt lived and painted for a number of years. It is now a museum...

in Amsterdam, displays many examples of his etching
Etching
Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

s; all major print room
Print room
A print room is either a room or industrial building where printing takes place, or a room in an art gallery or museum, where a collection of old master and modern prints, usually together with drawings, watercolours and photographs, are held and viewed. The latter meaning is the subject of this...

s have the majority of these, although a number exist in only a handful of impressions (copies). Starting October 30, 2011-January 22, 2012 the North Carolina Museum of Art is holding a 'Rembrandt in America' Exhibition with a multitude of original pieces by Rembrandt, imitators, and his students.

Selected works



  • The Stoning of Saint Stephen
    The Stoning of Saint Stephen
    The Stoning of Saint Stephen is the first painting by Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted in 1625 at the age of 19. It is currently kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.This work is inspired by the martyrdom of Saint Stephen which is recounted in Acts 7...

    (1625) - Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon
    Lyon
    Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

     
  • Andromeda Chained to the Rocks
    Andromeda Chained to the Rocks
    Andromeda Chained to the Rock was painted by Rembrandt in 1631, and is now in the Mauritshuis, in The Hague.Andromeda represents Rembrandt's first full length mythological female nude history painting and is taken from a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses...

    (1630) - Mauritshuis
    Mauritshuis
    The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is an art museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Previously the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, it now has a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans...

    , The Hague
    The Hague
    The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

     
  • Jacob de Gheyn III
    Jacob de Gheyn III (painting)
    Jacob de Gheyn III, also known as Jacob III de Gheyn , was a Dutch Golden Age engraver, son of Jacob de Gheyn II, canon of Utrecht , and the subject of a 1632 oil painting by Rembrandt. The portrait is half of a pair of pendent portraits...

    (1632) - Dulwich Picture Gallery
    Dulwich Picture Gallery
    Dulwich Picture Gallery is an art gallery in Dulwich, South London. England's first purpose-built public art gallery, it was designed by Regency architect Sir John Soane and opened to the public in 1817. Soane arranged the exhibition spaces as a series of interlinked rooms illuminated naturally...

    , London
  • Philosopher in Meditation
    Philosopher in Meditation
    Philosopher in Meditation is the traditional title of an oil painting in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, that has long been attributed to the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt. It is signed "RHL-van Rijn" and dated 1632, at the time of Rembrandt's move from Leiden to Amsterdam...

    (1632) - Louvre Museum, Paris
  • Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
    Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
    The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is a 1632 oil painting by Rembrandt housed in the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is pictured explaining the musculature of the arm to medical professionals. Some of the spectators are various doctors who paid commissions...

    (1632) - Mauritshuis
    Mauritshuis
    The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis is an art museum in The Hague, the Netherlands. Previously the residence of count John Maurice of Nassau, it now has a large art collection, including paintings by Dutch painters such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Steen, Paulus Potter and Frans...

    , The Hague
  • Artemisia
    Artemisia (Rembrandt)
    Artemisia Receiving Mausolus' Ashes is a painting by the Dutch master Rembrandt. It is housed in the Museo del Prado of Madrid, Spain. It is signed "REMBRANDT F: 1634"....

    (1634) - Oil on canvas, 142 x 152 cm, Museo del Prado
    Museo del Prado
    The Museo del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and unquestionably the best single collection of...

    , Madrid
  • Descent from the Cross (1634) - Oil on canvas, 158 x 117 cm, looted from the Landgrave
    Landgrave
    Landgrave was a title used in the Holy Roman Empire and later on by its former territories. The title refers to a count who had feudal duty directly to the Holy Roman Emperor...

     of Hesse-Kassel
    Hesse-Kassel
    The Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel or Hesse-Cassel was a state in the Holy Roman Empire under Imperial immediacy that came into existence when the Landgraviate of Hesse was divided in 1567 upon the death of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse. His eldest son William IV inherited the northern half and the...

     (or Hesse-Cassel), Germany in 1806, currently Hermitage Museum
    Hermitage Museum
    The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

    , St. Petersburg
  • Belshazzar's Feast
    Belshazzar's Feast (Rembrandt)
    Belshazzar's Feast is a c 1635 painting by Rembrandt. Its source comes from the story of Belshazzar and the writing on the wall in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. It is held in the The National Gallery, London....

    (1635) – National Gallery, London
    National gallery
    The National Gallery is an art gallery on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom.National Gallery may also refer to:*Armenia: National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan*Australia:**National Gallery of Australia, Canberra...

     
  • The Prodigal Son in the Tavern
    The Prodigal Son in the Tavern
    The Prodigal Son in the Brothel is a painting by the Dutch master Rembrandt. It is housed in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister of Dresden, Germany. It is signed "REMBRANDT F."....

    (c. 1635) - Oil on canvas, 161 x 131 cm Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
    Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
    The Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden features major works of art. It is located in the gallery wing of the Zwinger....

    , Dresden
    Dresden
    Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

     
  • Danaë (1636–1643) - Hermitage Museum
    Hermitage Museum
    The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

    , St. Petersburg
  • The Night Watch
    Night Watch (painting)
    Night Watch or The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq is the common name of one of the most famous works by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn....

    , formally The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (1642) - Rijksmuseum
    Rijksmuseum
    The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam or simply Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection of Asian art...

    , Amsterdam
  • Christ Healing the Sick (Etching
    Etching
    Etching is the process of using strong acid or mordant to cut into the unprotected parts of a metal surface to create a design in intaglio in the metal...

     c. 1643, also known as The Hundred Guilders Print), nicknamed for the huge sum paid for it
  • The Mill
    The Mill (Rembrandt)
    The Mill is a painting by Dutch baroque artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. It is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. For a long time, the attribution to Rembrandt was regarded as doubtful, it has been restored in recent years, although it is not...

    (1645/48) - National Gallery of Art
    National Gallery of Art
    The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden is a national art museum, located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW, in Washington, DC...

    , Washington, D.C.
  • Old Man with a Gold Chain ("Old Man with a Black Hat and Gorget") (c. 1631) Art Institute of Chicago
    Art Institute of Chicago
    The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is one of America's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, located in the Loop in Chicago, Illinois. It is associated with the museum of the same name, and "The Art Institute of Chicago" or "Chicago Art Institute" often refers to either...

     
  • Susanna and the Elders (1647) - Oil on panel, 76 x 91 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
    Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
    The Gemäldegalerie is an art museum in Berlin, Germany. It holds one of the world's leading collections of European art from the 13th to the 18th centuries. It is located on Kulturforum west of Potsdamer Platz. Its collection includes masterpieces from such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas...

  • Aristotle contemplating a bust of Homer
    Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer
    Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer is an oil-on-canvas painting by Rembrandt van Rijn. It was painted in 1653, as a commission from Don Antonio Ruffo, from Messina in Sicily, who did not request a particular subject....

    (1653) - Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Metropolitan Museum of Art
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

    , New York
  • Bathsheba at Her Bath
    Bathsheba at Her Bath
    Bathsheba at Her Bath is an oil painting by the Dutch artist Rembrandt finished in 1654. A depiction that is both sensual and empathetic, it shows a moment from the Old Testament story in which King David sees Bathsheba bathing and, entranced, seduces and impregnates her...

    (1654) - Louvre
    Louvre
    The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

    , Paris
  • Selfportrait (1658) - Frick Collection
    Frick Collection
    The Frick Collection is an art museum located in Manhattan, New York City, United States.- History :It is housed in the former Henry Clay Frick House, which was designed by Thomas Hastings and constructed in 1913-1914. John Russell Pope altered and enlarged the building in the early 1930s to adapt...

    , New York
  • The Three Crosses (1660) Etching, fourth state
  • Ahasuerus and Haman at the feast of Esther
    Ahasuerus and Haman at the feast of Esther
    The painting Ahasveros and Haman at the Feast of Esther is one of the few works of Rembrandt van Rijn whose complete provenance is known. The origin of the painting can be traced back to 1662, two years after its completion. -Subject:...

    (1660) - Pushkin Museum
    Pushkin Museum
    The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is the largest museum of European art in Moscow, located in Volkhonka street, just opposite the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour....

    , Moscow
  • Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis (1661) - Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (Claudius Civilis
    Gaius Julius Civilis
    Gaius Julius Civilis was the leader of the Batavian rebellion against the Romans in 69. By his nomen, it can be told that he was made a Roman citizen by either Augustus or Caligula....

     led a Dutch revolt against the Romans
    Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

    ) (most of the cut up painting is lost, only the central part still exists)
  • Syndics of the Drapers' Guild (Dutch De Staalmeesters, 1662) - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  • The Jewish Bride
    The Jewish Bride
    The Jewish Bride is a painting by Rembrandt, executed around 1667.The painting gained its current name in the early 19th century, when an Amsterdam art collector identified the subject as that of a Jewish father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day. This interpretation is no...

    (1665) - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Further reading

  • Catalogue raisonné
    Catalogue raisonné
    The typical catalogue raisonné is a monograph giving a comprehensive catalogue of artworks by an artist.The essential elements of a catalogue raisonné are that it purports to be an exhaustive list of works for a defined subject matter describing the works in a way so that they may be reliably...

    : Stichting Foundation Rembrandt Research Project:
    • A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings — Volume I, which deals with works from Rembrandt’s early years in Leiden (1629–1631), 1982
    • A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings — Volume II: 1631–1634. Bruyn, J., Haak, B. (et al.), Band 2, 1986, ISBN 978-90-247-3339-2
    • A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings — Volume III, 1635–1642. Bruyn, J., Haak, B., Levie, S.H., van Thiel, P.J.J., van de Wetering, E. (Ed. Hrsg.), Band 3, 1990, ISBN 978-90-247-3781-9
    • A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings — Volume IV. Ernst van de Wetering, Karin Groen et al. Springer, Dordrecht, the Netherlands (NL). ISBN 1-4020-3280-3. p. 692. (Self-Portraits)
  • Rembrandt. Images and metaphors, Christian Tumpel (editor), Haus Books London 2006 ISBN 978-1-904950-92-9
  • Van De Wetering, Ernst (2004) (2nd paperback printing). The Painter At Work. University of California Press,Berkley and Los Angeles. University of California Press, London, England. By arrangement with Amsterdam University Press. ISBN O-520-22668-2.

External links