Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, better known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch artist who lived during the 17th century. His work is widely regarded as among the finest produced during the Dutch Golden Age of art, and it can be found on display in numerous museums all over the world. Reproductions of Rembrandt's work are included in many art history books to illustrate the evolution of Dutch art. The mastery displayed in his work has earned it enduring popularity for centuries.
He was born in the town of Leiden in 1606, into a wealthy family which paid to educate him and later to apprentice him to another artist. By 1631, Rembrandt had moved to Amsterdam, thanks to his growing popularity, which ensured a steady income. In 1634, he married, but his marriage was far from happy. Out of the four children that Rembrandt had with his wife Saskia, only one lived to adulthood, and his wife died shortly after the birth of their fourth child in 1642.
Despite being very popular in his own day, Rembrandt also struggled financially. He apparently took on significant debt and was unable to pay it, perhaps because his spending usually equaled his income. In the 1650s, Rembrandt actually sold off many of his possessions in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy, and he moved to a smaller and more modest residence. Records of these sales indicate that Rembrandt was a passionate collector of Old Master paintings and scientific specimens.
Rembrandt worked both as a painter and as a printmaker, producing a very large body of work although some art historians suspect that not all works identified as “Rembrandts” were truly created by him. His work is remarkable because it demonstrates often unusual uses of color in rich, dense, highly detailed pieces which are marked by distinctive uses of light and shadow. The etchings and prints of Rembrandt are also quite striking, often incredibly detailed and lush with classical allusions and complex thematic elements.
Rembrandt died in 1669, leaving behind a large body of work and possessions. Numerous museums have acquired well known paintings and etchings, and some also survive in private collections. People who are curious to know what Rembrandt looked like can take advantage of a large assortment of self portraits, which Rembrandt painted at many stages of his life. His body of work also includes a large number of portraits, religiously themed works, and some depictions of Dutch daily life which are quite interesting to look at.