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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 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.

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Rembrandt Biography (BBC)  

Full Name: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Born: 1606 Died: 1669 Born to a family of millers in Leiden, Rembrandt left university at 14 to pursue a career as an artist. The decision turned out to be a good one since after serving his apprenticeship in Amsterdam he was singled out by Constantijn Huygens, the most influential patron in Holland. In 1634 he married Saskia van Uylenburgh. In 1649, following Saskia's death from tuberculosis, Hendrickje Stoffels entered Rembrandt's household and six years later they had a son. Rembrandt's success in his early years was as a portrait painter to the rich denizens of Amsterdam at a time when the city was being transformed from a small nondescript port into the economic capital of the world. His historical and religious paintings also gave him wide acclaim. Despite being known as a portrait painter Rembrandt used his talent to push the boundaries of painting. This direction made him unpopular in the later years of his career as he shifted from being the talk of the town to becoming adrift in the Amsterdam art scene and criticised by his peers. Simon Schama on Rembrandt "Claudius Civilis is a painting drunk on its own wildness. It is a painting that would not just be the ruin of Rembrandt's comeback, but also the ruin of his greatest vision. Or so I think, for I can't be sure. None of us can, because we don't know what the big picture looked like. What we're looking at here is a fragment, a fifth of the original size, the bit rescued from Rembrandt's knife. This may just be the most heartbreaking fragment in the entire history of painting. The painting was commissioned as a stirring depiction of the legendary story of how the Dutch nation came to be born. What they got was Rembrandt's version of history: ugliness, deformity, barbarism; a bunch of cackling louts, onion chewers and bloody-minded rebels. The paint slashed and stabbed, caked on like the make up of warriors. Despite making him bankrupt he's saying: these are your flesh and blood, rough and honest, your barbarian ancestry. They made you Dutch." Wikipedia: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (,15 July 1606 -- 4 October 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. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative. Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity. In his paintings and prints he exhibited 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 Amsterdam's Jewish population.Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization."

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(1/4) Rembrandt - Private life of a Masterpiece
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Biography: Rembrandt
Art & Painting : The Life of Rembrandt
Rembrandt Biography (BBC)