Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-Up Collar (1659), National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
|Years of life:||1606 – 1669|
|Artist's Teachers:||Jacob van Swanenburg, Pieter Lastman|
|Artist's students:||Carel Fabritius, Nicolaes Maes, Gerrit Dou, Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten, Ferdinand Bol|
|Art Movement:||Baroque, Dutch Golden Age|
|Painting School:||Dutch School|
|Genre:||Portrait , Landscape , Religious , Still-life , Mythology , Genre scenes , Animalistics|
The full name of this great Dutch painter is Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. He created prolific, stunning masterpieces, treasured in galleries worldwide.
However, the Rembrandt Commission currently argues over how many works he painted. Rembrandt was also one of the great printmakers, developing the exciting, new, free-flowing techniques of etching.
Born in Leiden. Son of a miller. Thanks to the social changes in Holland in the 17th century, his parents, understanding the importance of education, were able to send him to Leiden University. He had never been to Italy, but his teacher was Pieter Lastman, who had previously worked in Italy.
His personal life was dramatic. At first, thanks to marrying a successful art dealer’s cousin, which resulted in wealthy portrait commissions and quickly won renown. After his wife’s early death, he inherited her fortune, but then his popularity began to decline, resulting in debt, bankruptcy, and loss of his grand house and massive personal art collection. Titus, his beloved son, and his housekeeper common-law wife saved Rembrandt from ruin but when they died (Titus at the age of 27), the artist died in Amsterdam lonely and poor 11 months later.
SUBJECTS AND STYLE
He painted now on biblical subjects, portraits, and landscapes. He was able to convey deep, heartfelt feelings. He never flinched, even in front of the toughest subjects. He became the first serious master of self-portrait. With his honesty, the artist created some insightful self-portraits, unvarnished depicting the stages of his aging. The secret to his other works were faces and gestures – he noticed how a face expresses a person’s inner state and how gestures and body movements express feelings. He was also interested in ethical problems and states of mental crisis – you sense that he has experienced the intense feelings he portrays.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Rembrandt’s light warms, purifies, spiritualizes; shadow being the domain of the unexplained, the threatening, the evil. He was enthralled by the activity of painting; early work is detailed, later work is looser in style. His palette is rich, warm, calm. He carefully conveyed the features of the human skin ((no other artist has ever painted them with such care and so convincingly).
Rembrandt’s major works are Saskia as Flora, 1635 (London: National Gallery); The Blinding of Samson, 1636 (Frankfurt: Städelsches Kunstinstitut); Joseph Accused by Potiphar’s Wife, 1655 (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art); Vase with Flowers, c. 1670 (The Hague: Mauritshuis Museum).
- Robert Cumming. Art: complete encyclopedia. – 512 p. – Moscow: Astrel, 2005.