Rembrandt Van Rijn
1606 - 1669 · Netherlands
Rembrandt van Rijn was a Dutch painter who is today regarded as one of the most talented artists in history. He was a prolific artist who worked across a variety of mediums including painting, drawing and printmaking. His work was characterised by the use of saturated colour and golden hues. Born in Leiden, South Holland in the Netherlands in 1606, he set up his first studio in 1624 and began taking students just three years later. In time he became a successful portrait artist for the court of the Hague, and secured his reputation as an innovator of his time.
Although he never left the Netherlands throughout his life, he was heavily inspired by the works of the Italian masters. With this influence, he moved away from the traditional style of painting figures in a straight line, and instead placed them more naturally across the scene. He hoped to create a more intimate and realistic sense of life, not previously seen in the Netherlands, and achieved this by accentuating the contrast between dark and light. His most notable works which emphasise his style include The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolas Tulip (1632), The Night Watch (1642) and Bathsheba at Her Bath (1654). Distinguished by the use of an impasto technique and earthy tones, his works are impactful and uncompromising in their realism, and it was suggested that the artist was willing to create ‘ugly’ images in favour of retaining a realistic vision.
Today, Rembrandt’s work continues to be incredibly popular, and was showcased in 2019 with two dedicated exhibitions at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, to celebrate the 350th anniversary of his death. Other works by Rembrandt can be seen today at Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK (February-June 2020), the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the National Gallery in London.