Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a baroque artist, who ranks as one of the greatest painters in the history of Western art. He understood the human nature very well, and with his outstanding ability, made him a painter that is very famous. Not only was Rembrandt a superb painter but he was also very good in drawing and etching. It is said that no painter has ever equaled Rembrandt’s ability to use a different variety of shading and color contrast.
He was born in Leiden, a city in the west Netherlands, on July 15, 1606. Rembrandt’s parents thought it was very important for Rembrandt to get a good education. He began his studies at the Latin School, and at the age of 14 he was enrolled at the Leiden University. The program did not interest him, and he soon left to study art.
His first apprentice was a local master, Jacob van Swanenburch. Then he moved on in Amsterdam, with Pieter Lastman, known for his historical paintings.
After six months, having mastered everything he had been taught, Rembrandt returned to Leiden. In Leiden, Rembrandt was well respected even though he was barely 22 years old. So he started teaching people to paint to make a living. Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631. He married in 1634 to Saskia van Uylenburgh. She cousin of a successful art dealer and this enhanced his career by bringing him in contact with wealthy patrons who eagerly commissioned portraits.
Rembrandt’s mythological and religious works were much in demand. Because of he was well known as a teacher, his studio was filled with pupils, some of whom were already trained artists. In contrast to his successful public career, Rembrandt’s family life was was just the opposite. Between 1635 and 1641 Saskia gave birth to four children. Only the last, Titus, survived. She died in 1642 which upset Rembrandt because he loved her very much. Hendrickje Stoffels, became his housekeeper in 1649, and eventually became his common-law wife. She modeled for many of his pictures. Despite Rembrandt’s financial success as an artist, teacher, and art dealer, his love for the life of luxurious living, forced him to file for bankruptcy in 1656. Much of his works were auctioned off to pay his debts which was very saddening to him. In this auction he also sold his house. These problems in no way affected Rembrandt’s work, if anything, it motivated him. His personal life, however, continued to be disturbed. His beloved Hendrickje died in 1663, and his son, Titus, in 1668.
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