Rijn van Rembrandt 1606-1669 BACK

Rembrandt studied under Lastman and his earliest major recognition came from Constantijn Huygens, the secretary to the Prince of Orange. He saw Rembrandt as the Dutch answer to Rubens, a local Dutch artist capable of raising the reputation of Dutch painting to the highest level. Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631 and garnered a host of portraiture commissions. In 1634 he married Saskia, the daughter of a burgomaster. This gave Rembrandt social connections and a hefty dowry. Saskia died while giving birth to Titus to 1642. He would be accused of stealing from her estate. In the 1650's Rembrandt fell into bankruptcy due to lost commissions and the Dutch economy faltering due to the war. He found a young lover named Hendrickje Stoffels would model for a dozen or so of his works. In his late years, Rembrandt increasingly retreated into his lonely studio and, bereft of commissions and always in debt, he painted some of his best works.

Rembrandt was the first artist to practice self-portraiture as a speciality. In doing so, he created a medium for self-fashioning that has since inspired many artists. In 1968 a committee of Dutch art historians known as the Rembrandt Research Project took upon itself to distinguish between real Rembrandt paintings and all others. The project has met with less acceptance than anticipated.

An excerpt from Rembrandt's Women by Julia lloyd Williams:
In 1660, after all his possessions had been sold off, Rembrandt entered into a contract for a new art business with Titus and Hendrickje Stoffels, with him as their employee. It made him a dependent painter once again. In contrast to his time in Uylenburgh's shop, however, he would be protected from his creditors. It would have been a way of safeguarding the money earned from the Town Hall project.

Rembrandt may have become a social outcast but there were still people who admired his art and came to visit him. His late work was as expressive as ever. His Syndics of the Cloth-Makers' Guild, completed in 1662, is perhaps the best-known group portrait of an Amsterdam municipal body after the Treaty of Munster put an end to the painting of civic guard pieces. The only sitters known by name in portraits from his late period are Frederick Rihel (1621- 1681), in a large equestrian piece; the parents of the Trip brothers, who built a canal side palace; and a neighbour in Rozengracht, the art dealer Lodewijck van Ludick (1607-1669), Rembrandt's almost exact contemporary who shared his inability to manage money. The commission from the Trip family seems to have been sizable, but the main order had gone to Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680), so Rembrandt was the family's second choice. There are no known portraits of members of the ruling elite from his late period, and the chance that any will be found among the remaining anonymous portraits is slight.

Poverty had forced Rembrandt to sell Saskia's grave in the Oude Kerk, and he even dipped into his daughter Cornelia's savings. However, he was not so poor that Hendrickje Stoffels had to be buried in the paupers' cemetery after she died of the plague in the summer of 1663. She was interred in a rented grave in the Westerkerk, as was Rembrandt himself six years later. Their location in the church is completely unknown, and in any case they would have been cleared many years ago to make way for other impecunious citizens.

Image List
Bust of a Man in a Gorget and Cap, 1626

Artist in His Studio,1629

Old Woman Reading, 1631

Apostle Peter Kneeling, 1631

Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp, 1632

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633

Landscape with a Stone Bridge, 1638

Portrait of Jan Six, 1654

Monk Reading, 1661

Portrait of Jacob Trip, 1661

Self Portrait, 1662

Joseph Accused by Potiphar's Wife, 1655

Portrait of White-Haired Man, 1667

Self Portrait, 1669

Return of the Prodigal Son, 1669

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