Rembrandt

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (July 15, 1606 – October 4, 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history.[1] His contributions to art came in a period that historians call the Dutch Golden Age.

Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, his later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardship. Yet his drawings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high[2] and for twenty years he taught nearly every important Dutch painter.[3] Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. The self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity.[4]

In both painting and printmaking he exhibited a complete knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by Rembrandt's knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition, and his observations of the Jewish population of Amsterdam.[5] Of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization."[6]

 

1. Gombrich, page 420.
2. Gombrich, page 427.
3. Clark, page 203.
4. Gombrich, page 420.
5. Clark, page 203-4.
7. Clark, page 205.

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