Rembrandt van Rijn

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Born: July 15, 1606
Died: October 4, 1669
Field: Painting and etching
Style: Baroque

Rembrandt’s greatest works:

  • The Night Watch
  • The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
  • The Jewish Bride
  • Portrait Jan Six
  • Titus
  • Several self portraits

The Life of Rembrandt van Rijn

Holland's greatest artist was born in 1606 in Leiden as a son of a wealthy miller. At the age of eighteen, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn went to Amsterdam to work for Pieter Lastman, a popular painter. Six months later, he was ready to open his own studio in Leiden.

No one could play with shadow and light the way Rembrandt did. He quickly became a popular painter and decided to move back to the wealthy city of Amsterdam in 1631. Three years later, he married Saskia van Uylenborch.

Despite being a very talented and respected artist, Rembrandt lived his final years in dire conditions. Saskia, the love of his life, died and Rembrandt’s many debts forced him to sell his house and possessions. Several years later, his mistress, Hendrickje Stoffels, and his son Titus died. Finally, in 1669, Rembrandt died a poor man.

The Work of Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt is mostly praised for the way he used shadow and light to draw attention to events and figures in his paintings. This style gave his paintings a dramatic edge. He also dared to be creative.

His most famous work, the Night Watch, is a lively composition, which distinguishes itself from other important group portraits. Rembrandt produced 300 paintings, 300 etchings and 2000 drawings during his lifetime. Famous pupils of Rembrandt van Rijn were Gerard Dou, Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck.

Where to find Rembrandt van Rijn

You can admire 21 of Rembrandt’s works, including his famous Night Watch, at the National Museum (Rijksmuseum) Amsterdam. The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis houses another 10 of his works, including ‘The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp’. If you’re interested in Rembrandt’s life, you should visit the Rembrandt House Museum. Almost all of his etchings are on display here.