Rembrandt van Rijn was born in Leiden on July 15, 1606. He was the son of a miller, and his parents put high importance on his education. At the age of 14, Rembrandt was enrolled at the University of Leiden, which he soon left in order to study art. Rembrandt mastered everything he was taught in an impressively short six months, and he returned to Leiden. His style took an innovative turn involving the use of light. His new style left large areas of his paintings obscured in shadow and containing heavy contrasts of brightness with deep darkness, that would soon be termed as chiaroscuro in the 1670s. Rembrandt used light in his paintings to draw the viewer’s eye to a specific focal point before moving in to observe the abundant details within.
Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631 and married Saskia van Uylenburgh, who was the cousin of a successful art dealer, in 1634. It was during this time (referred to as the First Amsterdam Period of his career) that Rembrandt painted many dramatic masterpieces including The Blinding of Samson and Danaё. Rembrandt began painting riveting, large-scale biblical and mythological scenes using his high-contrast method of light and darkness. He also painted many commissioned portraits for the Dutch Elites of Amsterdam, as well as of himself in a variety of self-portraits. These portraitures are renowned for their glimpse into the artist’s personal perspective and creative process.
Eventually, Rembrandt’s overall artistic output diminished drastically, and he stopped producing portraits and other projects. Many blame Rembrandt’s downfall to the death of his wife and possible over exhaustion (and stifled commission) from completing the massive militia masterpiece, “The Night’s Watch”. Regardless of the underlying cause, Rembrandt’s felt limited within his style during his later years and made various attempts at searching for new artistic passions that sadly came to no avail.
On October 4, 1669, Rembrandt died in Amsterdam. There are many myths about Rembrandt’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, however, his international reputation among connoisseurs and collectors continued to rise post-mortem. Considered as a forerunner of the Romantic movement Rembrandt is remembered as an artist who was ahead of time in his choice in technique and mastering of chiaroscuro. Today, his work hangs on the walls of prestigious galleries and museums across the globe and stand as a powerful representation of the beauty, complexities, and success of Dutch art. Martin Lawrence Galleries is honored to have select Rembrandt works in our inventory.