Rembrandt: His outstanding talent to capture emotions and realism prove that he was gifted as an artist.

His portrayal of sensitivity and freedom widened the possibilities of composition and provided sharp originality and uniqueness.

Born in 1606 in the Netherlands, Rembrant or more popularly known as Rembrandt was a Dutch printmaker and painter – also credited to be one of the greatest artists and storytellers in the history of art. He was known to possess a distinct ability to capture people in their natural being and guises. History also credits Rembrandt as an artist who used light and shade to portray his uncompromising realism, which led history critics to state that the painters' preferences leaned more towards ugliness than beauty. 

Self-Portrait with Saskia. Date: 1636. Artist: Rembrandt van Rijn. Dutch, 1606-1669. The Art Institute of Chicago. Art in public domain.

In the early days of his career, Rembrandt mainly focused on portraits. However, this trend in his art reduced down over time, and just one-tenth of his work consisted of self-portraits and self-studying of his face. The main theme and the core of his approach throughout his career consist of biblical pieces in addition to some mythological, historical, and allegorical works, all of which were done in pen and ink or chalk. The changes seen in his work over time were gradual and remarkable. His take on composition and his interpretation of color, brushwork, and contour were all subject to abrupt changes, often gradual. 

“An unusual path”

Unlike many artists of the time, Rembrandt did not belong to a family dominated by art or craft. Instead, he belonged to a family of bakers. In 1616 he attended the Latin School in Leiden, where he picked up inspiration for his work from the emphasis places on orating. This allowed him to stage and develops his pieces, drawings, and historic etchings. He began to train for his skill in 1620 to 1625 and succeeded from two masters – Jacob van Swanenburgh and Peter Lastman. 

Stylistic arguments throughout time speculate about the influence of Jan Lievens – another child prodigy and artist on Rembrandt since both of them worked closely for a few years; however concrete history does not say much on this. In 1625, Rembrandt moved to Leiden, and during the next six years, he paved foundations for many of his following art pieces. Much of his beginning work took inspiration from Lastmans art, but there was always some composition mixed on his own, which allowed him to develop his own personal style. 

‘The Artist in His Studio’

During this period, Rembrandt produced historic work such as single figures in historic, Middle Eastern, or made-up costumes that displayed old age, loneliness, bravery, and piety. In 1628, Rembrandt finished work on the 'Judas Repentant' and made 'The Artist in His Studio.' Following 1625, there was a rapid and considerable shift in style, which led him to reach the first major milestone in his development as an artist. This change was composed of light, and he arrived soon at what we could call, in today's world, 'Spotlight effects.' This meant that he left large areas on his canvases, portraying shadows. 

“Night Watch”

In order to achieve the desired effect of the viewer's eye capturing the essence of his paintings in one look, he stopped using stronger colors that impaired the effect he aimed for. To maintain perfect composition and unity, he sacrificed detail in his work, and many critics say this was an early manifestation of his work on 'night watch.' In 1628, Rembrandt began making Etchings, which sprung his career into an entirely new direction. As a result, much of the fame he gained internationally was based on distributed prints that came from the 300 etchings he made in his lifetime. 

“Rembrandt's unusual etchings"

His painting 'Night Watch,' made in circa 1640-1642, was a huge turning point in his artistic development. Historically, these changes did not result from unintended evolution, but rather they were seen as an intended search in terms of narrative respects. This could also be said to be the same pattern followed by Rembrandts' great art ancestors.

With his art and his portrayal of realism, Rembrandt quickly gained fame among the art lovers of Holland. This led to the public preferring to buy his paintings and self-portraits, which became a fashion statement for the era. In addition to his uniqueness and local rapport, his oeuvre bought him international recognition, and his work became a basis of art practice studies and exercises. They also became popular among those who preferred contemporary art. 

“Another vital time”

Over the course of his career, Rembrandt also taught many pupils. However, he never took beginners, and instead, great names such as Carel Fabritius and GovaertFlinck were a part of his teachings. In 1631, Rembrandt entered a partnership business with Henrick Uylenburgh, who had a shop that restored paintings and produced duplicates. This was an opportunity for Rembrandt to move to Amsterdam, which was thriving for art. In his early years in the city, Rembrandt focused on creating numerous allegorical pieces that portrayed life-size figures. These were painted based on his own aptitude and energy. By the end of 1635, Rembrandt became independent and moved with his family. The years following 1640 were the peak of his art career. He became famous rapidly and was recognized as one of the country's most renowned and esteemed painters. 

“Myth and Death”

In the decade following 1640, Rembrandts' course of way changed considerably. He began to produce less painting, and his style and manner became distraught. The period of 1643-1652 became one of the mysteries of his career. There were several speculations about the time after Night Watch and became known as the 'Rembrandt myth.' As a result, he became misunderstood, and due to increasing financial strains, he died in poverty in October of 1669. His legacy in the world of art and craftsmanship still remains a main topic of grasp. His outstanding talent to capture emotions and realism prove that he was gifted as an artist. His portrayal of sensitivity and freedom widened the possibilities of composition and provided sharp originality and uniqueness. He is known in the world of history and art as someone who innovated and used techniques that stood out and are still studied in-depth till date.