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Rembrandt: The Premiere Artist Of The Dutch Golden Age

1279 words - 6 pages

Rembrandt:
The Premiere Artist of the Dutch Golden Age

Of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s work we have an unprecedented catalogue of paintings and etchings. He created more than twenty-five-hundred pieces. His painting numbered more than five-hundred, his etchings three-hundred and his drawings two-thousand. He captured beauty in life and religion. His most notable works include his many religious narrative scenes, such as “The Blinding of Samson” or “Christ in the Storm.” Also of note are his many self portraits such as, “Rembrandt and Saskia in the Scene of the Prodigal Son in the Tavern.” He is also known for his depictions of Jesus. In his own time he was a renown portrait ...view middle of the document...

Rembrandt had the potential to become a politician and govern the city of Leiden. His passion was in a field far from politics, however. He had a natural affinity for art. He was unwilling to comply or compromise with his parents and do both. Schwartz says, “He took his destiny into his own hands and became (a fully fledged) artist,” (39). Holding public office as well as painting and etching would have been a wise way to finance his passion instead of becoming dependent on it. His parents acquiesced and sent him to become apprenticed as an artist. He first worked under an artist in Leiden by the name of Jacob Isaacszoon van Swanenburg, the local master, and later for Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam (Schwartz 40, rembrandtpainting.net). In sixteen-hundred and twenty-seven Rembrandt's first commissions come from Frederik Hendrik. In total he is payed to paint fourteen pieces (40). During this time He works closely with another artist named Jan Lievens (40). Rembrandt’s earliest art sale was by an aristocrat from Amsterdam in sixteen-hundred and twenty-eight for twenty-nine guilders (40). He worked in Leiden and Amsterdam and in sixteen-hundred and thirty-four he married Saskia Uylenburgh. She was the cousin of his colleague Hendrick Uylenburgh, an art dealer (Schwartz 40, rembrantpainting.net). Saskia bore four children, but only Titus lived beyond infancy (Schwartz 40). His early life was mainly a series of triumphs where learned a great deal from his teachers van Swanenburg and Lastman.
The later part of Rembrandt's life was more of a struggle. Many court proceedings and a near bankruptcy episode marked his career. His popularity waned and his in laws caused tension. In sixteen-hundred and thirty-nine he purchased a house in Amsterdam where much of his work was created. But this house was an emotional and financial burden to him as it says on rembrantpainting.net, “(The house) proved to be the scene of personal tragedy: his wife and three of his children died here. The house became a financial burden, and in 1660 Rembrandt was forced to move,” (rembrandtpainting.net). The years between prosperity and purchasing the house to bankruptcy and selling it were rough. At the age of thirty-five Rembrandt began to amass a collection of art and spent more than he could afford at art auctions. This along with waning popularity led to his financial ruin (biography.com). His decline in popularity or lack of personal motivation occurred after the death of his wife in sixteen-hundred and forty-two (rembrandtonline.org). This period saw a stark lack in the art produced. The cause of this, as biography.com says, may be, “Rembrandt's overall artistic output diminished drastically and he produced no painted portraits; either he received no portrait commissions or he stopped accepting such commissions…Often blamed for Rembrandt's supposed downfall are the...

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