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. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age.
Rembrandt protected his creative powers from the menace of the world around him by a constant expression of profound sympathy for the men and women around him. It is this generosity of spirit towards others which allowed him to reach for the essential in his pictorial representation of them.
Rembrandt's marriage to the beautiful and wealthy Saskia van Uylenburch in 1634 ushered in a period of contentment. His works during this time reflected the opulence of their lifestyle, projecting exuberence and energy. This is particularly seen in religious works such as The Blinding of Samson, (1636).
His work influenced some of the most renowned print makers in history—including Goya, Whistler, Chagall and Picasso—yet none, save perhaps Picasso, managed to eclipse his virtuosity in the medium.
Rembrandt worked as a painter, etcher, printmaker and draftsman, led a studio and trained other artists. His oeuvre includes portraits, landscapes, biblical and mythological themes. Among his best known works are: The Blinding of Samson, The Night Watch, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp and The Hundred Guilder.
His most famous work, the Night Watch, is a lively composition, which distinguishes itself from other important group portraits. Rembrandt produced 300 paintings, 300 etchings and 2000 drawings during his lifetime. Famous pupils of Rembrandt van Rijn were Gerard Dou, Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck.
Rembrandt was a master at contrasting light and dark. He used a technique called chiaroscuro. This is best seen in Night Watch. It is also known for its sense of natural movement that was unusual in that period.
In more than 90 portraits of himself that date from the outset of his career in the 1620s to the year of his death in 1669, he created an autobiography in art that is the equal of the finest ever produced in literature even of the intimately analytical Confessions of St. Augustine.
Rembrandt was fascinated by the people he encountered in Amsterdam. His earlier years had been preoccupied by the study of forms, their power of expression and their relationship with light; he soon came to regard drawing at the best means of capturing a feeling, a sentiment or a thought.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on July, 15th 1606 in Leiden, and died on the 4th October 1669 in Amsterdam. Today, he is usually known by his first name Rembrandt and one of the most famous Dutch artists of the Baroque
The silent human figure remained the central subject of Rembrandt's art and contributed to the sense of a shared dialogue between viewer and picture, which still is the foundation of Rembrandt's greatness as well as of his popularity today.