Movement, Style, School or Period:
Date and Place of Birth:
July 15, 1606, Leiden, Netherlands
Rembrandt, the only sibling of his large family to receive formal education, was what we now call a "college drop-out". Following his burning desire to paint, he left the University of Leiden, went to Amsterdam and became a pupil of the artist Pieter Lastman. In due time, he returned to Leiden just long enough to establish his reputation as a painter. That quickly accomplished, he made his way back to Amsterdam, became the leading portrait artist of the day, took on pupils and married a lovely girl from a wealthy family.
Body of Work:
Portraits, such as his Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (1632), brought Rembrandt fame and riches. (This isn't surprising; one of the few things that the Protestant Dutch didn't condemn as idolatry was portraiture, and they had plenty of money with which to have themselves painted.) He also painted religious scenes (though it really wasn't "done" in that place in those times), as seen in Angel Leaving Tobit and Tobias (1637) and experimented with landscapes. Throughout this period, he began inserting more drama and interplay of light and shadow into his paintings.
Things went badly in 1642. His wife, Saskia, died after loosing three of their four children in infancy. On top of personal tragedy, his career took a disastrous turn when the subjects of his group portrait The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch (commonly known as The Night Watch) were incensed by his seemingly random placement of their faces in dim light. Commissions dropped off, and Rembrandt - who'd always freely spent funds indulging his passion for collecting art and artifacts - found himself bankrupt. Undeterred, he packed up what was left, moved to humbler surroundings and continued creating and teaching.
Throughout the rest of his life, though personal troubles plagued Rembrandt, his artistic output was phenomenal and its subject matter (and tone) increasingly serene. He is credited with some 600 paintings, 300 etchings and 1,400 drawings. Of this total, nearly 100 works were self-portraits of a man on a continual journey of discovery.
Date and Place of Death:
October 4, 1669, Amsterdam
"Try to put well in practice what you already know. In so doing, you will, in good time, discover the hidden things you now inquire about."