Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669)
In many ways, Rembrandt’s etchings are more important than his paintings, in that he revolutionized a medium that was in his day simply a copyist’s tool. Rembrandt painted portraits to sustain himself financially. He made etchings for his personal pleasure, to extend the potential of the etching medium, and to feed his desire for continual creativity. He carried with him a copper plate as most artists carry a sketchbook. In etching Rembrandt allowed himself to create freely, without the academic restraints of his day.
Rembrandt was the great master of the Baroque Age, a time known for a dramatic use of light and shadow (chiaroscuro). He remains one of history’s most innovative and influential original printmakers. He created more than 300 etchings in his lifetime, many of which he labored over obsessively, often resulting in multiple states, or variations in the evolution of an etched image.
Scholars have divided his etching output into different categories according to subject. Each reveals a different facet of Rembrandt's personality. His portraits, including his self portraits, reveal the complexity of his psychology and reveal his general moods over the years. His many religious etchings demonstrate a vast knowledge of both testaments, while his beggar and genre scenes are still being analyzed for their meaning and intent. Rembrandt's contributions to the medium of etching have inspired countless artists, including many of the most important etchers of all time like Goya, Whistler, Chagall and Picasso. More than three-hundred and fifty years later, his etchings continue to astonish us in their virtuosity, insight and dramatic presence.
Rembrandt at The Official Blog of Park West Gallery
- Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn born in Leiden.
- Enrolled at Leiden University.
- Studied with the Leiden painter Jacob van Swanenburg.
- Studied with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam.
- Returned to Leiden and set up his own studio.
- Moved permanently to Amsterdam.
- Married Saskia van Uyenburgh.
- Moved with Saskia into the house on the Breestraat, the present Rembrandt House.
- Son Titus born. Saskia dies shortly after never fully recovering from his birth. Hendrickje Stoffels enters the household eventually becoming Rembrandt's common law wife.
- Rembrandt moved to the Rozengracht.
- Titus married, but died in the autumn of the same year.
- Rembrandt died and was buried in the Westerkerk.