Ironically, despite his righteousness, Rembrandt's personal life was full of scandal. He maintained a life of constant disorder and confusion that was in stark contrast to his notoriety in the public.
Rembrandt's life and art were driven by an intense psychological analysis of people, things, and their surroundings and sincere Christian devotion. He was a master of all types of portraiture, historical, biblical, and mythological subjects, as well as simple, endearing, yet dramatic landscapes. He was incredibly gifted as an artist from a very young age. He developed his message using various tools and methods with unusual sensitivity and spontaneity. His plans for composition, the use of color, and the use of shadow were constantly evolving to create the most profoundly moving, most organic moments in human life yet.
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 all of his works. These characteristics are seen in his historical paintings, from the enormous, ambitious early works 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 (The Art Story, n.d.).
Out of 10, Rembrandt was the fourth of six living children. He did not originate from an artistic or skilled family like many other painters of his era; his father, Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn (1568-1630), was a miller. Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck, his mother, was a baker. She lived from 1568 to 1640.
Rembrandt is still a somewhat uncommon first name. It is similar to more popular first names in the Dutch language as Remmert, Gerbrand, and IJsbrand. Rembrandt made substantial changes to the manner he signed his creations. Rembrant Harmenszoon, "son of Harmen," was the only monogram he used when he was young. From 1626 to 1627, he used RHL, and in 1632, he used RHL van Rijn (the L in the monogram possibly standing for Leidensis, "from Leiden," the place in which he was born). At the age of 26, he started signing his work just with his first name, Rembrant (ending only with a -t); from the beginning of 1633 until his death, he signed his name Rembrandt (with a -dt). Since Michelangelo (Michelangelo Buonarroti), Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), and Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio), three of the greatest artists of the 15th and 16th centuries, were also commonly known by their first names, it has been suggested that he started using his first name as his signature because he thought he was on par with them.
Rembrandt attended elementary school, like most Dutch children of the time (about 1612–16). Then, from roughly 1616–1620, he attended the Latin School in Leiden, where the primary subjects taught were biblical studies and classics. He may have been able to "stage" the figures in the events shown in his historical paintings, sketches, and etchings because of the school's emphasis on oratory skills. Whether Rembrandt finished his studies at the Latin School is unknown. A laudatory half-page biography of Rembrandt was included in Jan Janszoon Orlers' (1570–1646) Beschrijvinge der stadt Leyden (1641; "Description of the Town of Leiden"). Orlers claimed that Rembrandt was sent to be taught as a painter at his desire after being removed from school early. This does not necessarily conflict with Rembrandt's enrollment at Leiden University on May 20, 1620. Leiden boys were frequently enrolled as students even though they were not required to attend any lectures, whether it was for tax purposes or just because they had participated at the Latin School. It is still unknown how far along intellectually Rembrandt was and whether or not this had any bearing on his art. Rembrandt received art instruction from roughly 1620 until 1624/25. He had two masters in succession, which was usual in his period. Jacob van Swanenburgh, a painter from Leiden, was Rembrandt's first teacher; he worked with him for roughly three years, according to Orlers. He must have received the fundamental training and information required for the vocation from Van Swanenburgh. He was exceptionally skilled at painting fire and its reflections on the surrounding things in images of hell and the underworld, which were subjects that called tremendous talent in painting architecture. This ability was regarded as unique and challenging during Rembrandt's time. Rembrandt may have had a lifelong interest in the effects of light because of his early exposure to this type of visual issue.
Pieter Lastman (1583–1633), Rembrandt's second mentor, resided in Amsterdam. Orlers claimed that Rembrandt resided with him for six months. Working with Lastman, a well-known history painter of the period must have assisted Rembrandt in developing the knowledge and abilities required to grasp that genre. Various characters from biblical, historical, mythological, or allegorical themes were arranged in intricate settings for history paintings. A complete command of all subjects was necessary for history painting to hold the highest position in the 17th-century hierarchy of the various genres. Arnold Houbraken, one of Rembrandt's biographers, names Jakob Pynas, another Amsterdam historical painter, as one of Rembrandt's mentors. Houbraken wrote the most thorough early biography and portrayal of Rembrandt as an artist in 1718. However, it was laced with unreliable stories.
Based on stylistic grounds, one could hypothesize about Jan Lievens' influence on Rembrandt throughout his apprenticeship. Lievens, who was a child prodigy and was one year Rembrandt's junior, had developed into a mature artist by the time Rembrandt must have decided to become a painter. Researchers only know that Rembrandt and Lievens collaborated closely for some time when Rembrandt returned to Leiden around 1625 after completing his studies with Lastman, but their relationships may have started earlier. However, Rembrandt's class assignments have vanished without a trace." (Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d.)
Ironically, despite his righteousness, Rembrandt's personal life was full of scandal. He maintained a life of constant disorder and confusion that was in stark contrast to his notoriety in the public eye and his professional successes, whether in his relationships with women or how he handled his personal finances.
Rembrandt and Saskia rented a home in 1635 while they waited for a new one to be rebuilt in the affluent district that was soon to be known as the Jewish quarter. The couple's eventual financial difficulties were finally brought on by the high mortgage on the new home. Rembrandt frequently asked his Jewish neighbors to serve as models for his Old Testament scenes. Despite already being wealthy, the couple experienced significant personal hardships. Their daughter Cornelia passed away at barely three weeks in 1638, and their son Rumbartus passed away two months after his birth in 1635. A second daughter, also named Cornelia, was born to them in 1640, although she barely lived for one month.
Titus, their fourth child, born in 1641, was the only one to live to adulthood. Saskia passed away in 1642, shortly after Titus was born, following a protracted battle with TB. One of Rembrandt's most captivating pieces is one of his depictions of her lying on her sickbed and dying.
Rembrandt's private life now grew complicated. Geertghe Dircx, a widow of peasant origin, was employed by Rembrandt in 1642 to assist with caring for nine-year-old Titus while Saskia was ill. Rembrandt fell in love with Geertghe, but their romance was troubled. He began misbehaving, accruing debt, and receiving condemnation from friends, the Church, customers, and clients. Rembrandt was afterward accused of breaking his commitment by Geertghe, who claimed that he had promised to marry her. Despite Rembrandt's repeated attempts to have her placed in a poorhouse after finding that she had pawned some of Saskia's valuables, she was granted monthly alimony. He felt obligated to pay for her to live at the home of correction from 1650 until 1655 despite his difficult financial circumstances (The Art Story, n.d.).
Rembrandt employed Hendrickje Stoffels, a lady 20 years his junior, as his maid in the early 1647s. She was a straightforward, kind lady who supported the artist but unavoidably complicated Rembrandt's friendship with Geertghe. She stayed with Rembrandt until her death at age 37 in 1663, as stated in The World of Rembrandt 1606-1669 (1963). Evidently, her connection to Rembrandt quickly went from servant to model to wife in all but name. One of the two daughters, Hendricke and Rembrandt, had died as a newborn, but the younger daughter, Cornelia, was in good health. Hendrickje and his son Titus, with who he was happy to be, seemed to be supporting Rembrandt. His life and art were becoming more serene and wise as he matured; he would go on to create masterpiece after masterpiece (The Art Story, n.d.).
The Art Story. (n.d.). www.theartstory.org. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://www.theartstory.org/artist/rembrandt-van-rijn/
Encyclopedia Britannica. (n.d.). www.britannica.com. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rembrandt-van-Rijn