Rembrandt van Rijn

Dutch painter and etcher (1606 - 1669) considered to be one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) was the outstanding artist of Holland's seventeenth-century "Golden Age". He produced a wealth of paintings, etchings and engravings and introduced the idea of artistic reproduction to the Netherlands, following the example of Rubens and the Flemish tradition. By creating numerous prints of his work for the vigorous Dutch art market, he greatly broadened his clientele. He is reputed to have produced over 400 paintings and 1,000 drawings, although many of the latter and some of the former are disputed.

History painting was the ultimate ambition of the artists of Rembrandt's day, while portrait painting was considered an inferior practice. Rembrandt, together with his friend and rival from Leiden the painter Lievens, achieved a compromise between the two by inventing the "tronie", a type of imaginary portrait in which the sitters were dressed in exotic garments. The sitters would be seen in a historicised context and elevated in status. The demand for tronies was high and this contributed to Rembrandt's early success in Amsterdam where he moved to in around 1631-32.

Rembrandt began his career painting in a smooth polished style, but later on developed what was called the 'rough manner', painting in a blotched way so that his work would be best viewed from a distance. The Walker's Rembrandt studio painting "The Betrothal" (WAG 1019) although not of a particularly rough surface, follows some of the elements of this later stylistic development in Rembrandt's work. The girl's hands are painted in different tones, with pink used to convey the plasticity of the flesh and a thickening of paint.

Rembrandt ran a large studio, with at least twenty apprentices and paying pupils, run as a commercial establishment in Amsterdam. He also allowed a stream of young qualified painters to work in his studio under his tutelage and often closely following his style, which makes the attribution of work to Rembrandt problematic. The number of pupils he employed may never be fully calculated because most of the records of Amsterdam's artists' Guild of St Luke have been lost from his period.
  • Gender
    Male
  • Relationship
  • Nationality
    Dutch
  • Born
    1606-07-15
  • Place of birth
    Europe: Western Europe: The Netherlands: Holland: Leiden
  • Died
    1669-10-04
  • Place of death
    Europe: Western Europe: The Netherlands: Amsterdam
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded

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