Overview of the artist

One of the greatest storytellers in art history, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, also known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch Baroque painter and printmaker who lived in the seventeenth century. He was renowned for his extraordinary ability to depict people in different moods and dramatic guises. Throughout his career, Rembrandt painted a wide range of topics and genres. Still, he is most renowned for his realistic and sympathetic portraits, particularly his self-portraits and his portrayals of biblical scenes. Although the Dutch artist is most known for his oil paintings on canvas, he was also a skilled etcher (an artist who engraved into a metal surface) and printmaker. The Night Watch, The Return of the Prodigal Son, and other self-portraits are among Rembrandt’s best-known pieces.

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Self-Portrait _©https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rembrandt-van-Rijn
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The Night _©https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Watch#/media/File:The_Night_Watch_-_HD.jpg
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The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt)_©https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_%28Rembrandt%29#/media/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn_-_Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Career

Philosophy

Rembrandt’s life and art were driven by an intense psychological analysis of people, things, and their surroundings as well as a sincere Christian devotion. He was a master of all types of portraiture, including historical, biblical, and mythological subjects, as well as simple, endearing, yet dramatic landscapes. Rembrandt was famous for his exceptional ability to capture highly genuine, realistic human figures and— perhaps more importantly—deep human emotions, flaws, and morality. Even when depicting his subjects in history, religion, or society, he sought to communicate their feelings and experiences because he believed that human emotions were more significant than any other parts of existence. He was incredibly gifted as an artist from a very young age. He developed his message using various tools and methods with uncommon sensitivity and spontaneity. His plans for composition, the use of colour, and the use of shadow were constantly evolving to create the most profoundly moving yet organic moments in human life. He was one of art’s greatest and most inventive masters because of his extraordinary ability to use light and texture to express emotional depth in his works. These characteristics are seen in his historical paintings, from the enormous, ambitious early results to the more personal, bright later ones. Since his creations embodied the magnificent age of prosperity and cultural achievement known as the Dutch Golden Age, the iconic genius is often recognized as the most significant artist in Dutch art history.

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The Abduction of Europa_©https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandt#/media/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_-_The_Abduction_of_Europa_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Style

Rembrandt’s styles are remarkable. Even within a single painting, his compositional approach and depiction of space and light, as well as his control of contour, form, colour, brushwork, and (in his drawings and etchings) his treatment of line and tone, all experience gradual (or occasionally quick) development. Night Watch (1640/42) was undoubtedly a turning point in his artistic development. These changes are not the result of uncontrollable growth; instead, they represent a determined search’s pictorial and narrative records.

Painting

Between 1620 and 1624/25, Rembrandt studied art under the mentorship of Swanenburgh and acquired the fundamental abilities and information required for the profession. He was exceptionally skilled at painting fire and its reflections on the surrounding things in images of hell and the underworld. These subjects are called tremendous talent in painting architectural pieces.

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Self-Portrait _©https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rembrandt-van-Rijn/The-Leiden-period-1625-31

Pieter Lastman served as Rembrandt’s second instructor, from whom he acquired the information and abilities required to perfect the historical painting genre. A complete command of all subjects, from landscape to architecture, from still life to drapery, from animals to, above all, the human figure, in a wide range of postures, expressions, and costumes, was necessary for history painting, which held the highest position in the 17th-century hierarchy of the various genres.

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Rembrandt: Aristotle with a Bust of Homer_©https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rembrandt-van-Rijn/The-Leiden-period-1625-31

Rembrandt worked on a coloured background to get the desired finish, layering the colours in thick layers. In his paintings, he used light and shadow to emphasize the hands and faces of his subjects while letting the background and his attire, which are less critical, blend into the environment. Intimate, tender photographs provide a sense of immediacy and give the impression that the subject is known as a result.

Etching 

Rembrandt started making etchings early in his career. His etchings hold a unique place in the history of this medium not only for their technical brilliance but also for the endless experiments he conducted with the plate, resulting in multiple iterations on each scale where he changed the composition before printing it again. After the first printing, every modification to the plate is referred to as a “state.” Before Rembrandt, this was typically restricted to adding inscriptions or making minor changes. Still, in Rembrandt’s instance, the transformation of the plate from its initial state to its final state might result in a total metamorphosis. Many of Rembrandt’s etchings are well-known, prized by print collectors, and admired by the general public. The Hundred Guilder Print and Christ Preaching are two examples.

Rembrandtndt: The Three Trees _©https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rembrandt-van-Rijn/The-Leiden-period-1625-31

Recognition and Contributions

Rembrandt surpassed the inventiveness of Titian and Velazquez with his innovative handling of paint. A completely new distinctive style that would impact future generations resulted from variations in brushstrokes between loose and rough, or from the manipulation of textures through scratching or with a palette knife.

References:

  • Ernst van de Wetering (1999). Rembrandt Dutch artist. [online]. (Last updated: 2022). Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rembrandt-van-Rijn [Accessed date: 19/11/2022].
  • MasterClass. Rembrandt: A Guide to the Life and Artworks of Rembrandt . [online]. (Last updated: 2021). Available at:https://www.masterclass.com/articles/rembrandt-life-and-art [Accessed date: 19/11/2022].
  • Wikipedia. Rembrandt. (Last updated: 2022). Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rembrandt [Accessed date: 19/11/2022].
  • THE ART SRTORY . Rembrandt van Rijn . [online]. (Last updated: 2022). Available at: https://www.theartstory.org/artist/rembrandt-van-rijn/ [Accessed date: 19/11/2022].
  • Rosily Roberts . Rembrandt’s life and painting techniques. [online]. Available at: https://oldmasters.academy/rembrandts-life-and-painting-techniques [Accessed date: 19/11/2022].
  • rembrandtpaintings . Rembrandt van Rijn and his Artworks . [online] . Available at: https://www.rembrandtpaintings.com[Accessed date: 19/11/2022].
Author

Vedika is an architect who wants to push the boundaries of architecture beyond the realms of Earth in order to discover how outer space designs can help humanity and designs on Earth. She aspires to make her designs powerful enough to convince everyone that space matters. She believes natural materials, detailing, and faultless execution can give structures their own voice. Every day, her passion for design, writing, and knowledge moves her closer to her goal.

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