Rembrandt Harmenszoon
van Rijn

Netherlands • 1606−1669

Biography and information

Rembrandt van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669)  was an outstanding Dutch artist. He was born and raised in the family of the most ordinary miller in the city of Leiden. Rembrandt worked there until 1632, and after that he moved to Amsterdam. Two years later, he married a girl from a very wealthy family. Her name was Saskia. The artist immortalized the image of his beloved one on many of his canvases, conveying all her femininity and beauty with special love and tenderness.
But the artist’s biography is not as simple and ordinary as it might seem at first sight. This is evidenced by his works, which reflect the hidden essence of worldly phenomena and convey the inner world of the people portrayed.

Features of the artist Rembrandt van Rijn: The interest that the artist showed in the inner world of a person manifested itself already during the Leiden period, when Rembrandt van Rijn conveyed the individual characteristics of people through their portraits. The painter paid special attention to the disclosure of the state of mind of the person being portrayed, while omitting minor details.

Rembrandt’s work had an amazing breadth of thematic range. The deepest humanism was seen in all of the artist’s works. And at the same time, the painter was constantly in creative search, trying to find the most expressive artistic means. Those continuous attempts to achieve perfection became the reasons why Rembrandt van Rijn become the greatest artist of all time. Painters are still trying to live up to his unsurpassed mastery, and the artist’s works fascinate people at the very first glance. Famous paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn Despite the fact that all of the artist’s works are worthy attention, there are some among them that really catch an eye due to their special magic. The artist’s most famous painting was “The Night Watch”. The work got its name only at the end of the eighteenth century. It was because of the fact that the dark varnish, being removed later, created the impression that all the events on the canvas took place late at night. The primary subject of that work was Captain Kok, who gave Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch the order to go into battle. The portrait was distinguished by the expressiveness and naturalness of the subjects depicted.

Later, the artist made another painting that became no less famous - “The Return of the Prodigal Son”, in which Rembrandt van Rijn depicted a biblical story. The canvas was full of compassion and tenderness, and anyone who had ever seen it would agree that there was the greatest creation of the painter (among all that he had ever created) right before one’s eyes. Rembrandt's work: main periods The early works of the Dutch artist Rembrandt, that he painted in the 1630s, were mainly the portraits of his beloved wife. The self-portrait of the painter with Saskia sitting on his lap was especially notable. The artist portrayed himself as a cheerful gentleman, who hugged his half-turned wife with one hand, holding a glass of wine in the other hand. Rembrandt’s paintings of that period were full of vital energy, strength and love. In those same years, he was seriously interested in biblical subjects.

By the beginning of the 1640s, the artist was becoming popular and highly paid. Rembrandt’s paintings admired and inspired people. The culmination of his work in that period was the canvas “Danae”, depicting a mythological heroine. The artist painstakingly painted a velvet canopy and the girl’s beautiful nude body glowing in the soft rays of golden light.

But the most outstanding paintings by the talented Rembrandt were created in the 50s-60s of the 17th century. Despite the fact that the artist then was getting through really hard times due to problems with the authorities and because of other complicated things, his life still had enough room for creativity.
The last paintings by the artist Rembrandt van Rijn One of the last works of the great master was the painting “The Jewish Bride”. Working on that particular painting, the artist got so masterfully immersed into the mystery that he managed to express all the emotions of the portrayed without any words. The primary subjects of the painting played certain roles. The artist portrayed the Old Testament couple, Rebekah and Isaac, who settled in the land of the Philistines and passed themselves off as a sister and brother. The painting was the highest final path in the desire of the painter to befriend the universal with unique.

The painting “Bathsheba” deserved no less attention than the previous one. Rembrandt was inspired by a story from the Old Testament about King David, the Israeli ruler. One evening, David went onto the roof of his own palace, from where he noticed a bathing woman of incredible beauty. The king ordered to find out everything about that girl. And the servants informed him that there was a Bathsheba bathing. Rembrandt also transferred that scene to his canvas. He concentrated all his attention on adultery, divine wrath, and blood crime.

The Polish Rider” was another Rembrandt’s painting of the late period, widely known after it was acquired by an influential collector. The main subject of the canvas was a courageous young man on a horse. Rembrandt portrayed him in motion, but the gaze of the depicted man was pensively directed into the distance. Judging by the style of clothing in which the young man was dressed, he belonged to the seventeenth-century Polish cavalry. He was wearing a long caftan, a fur hat and leather boots. The rider was armed with a dagger and a saber, and he held a bow in his right hand.

It is still unknown who exactly posed for the great Dutch artist. Some historians, studying the work of Rembrandt, tend to think that was not a cavalryman, but the most ordinary Pole. The painter paid special attention to another subject - a war horse. The horse was graceful and stately, its nostrils were wide open. Since the horse was in motion, her snow-white mane fluttered in the wind, and muscles moved on its body. The horse and the rider were perceived as a whole, striving for a common goal.