Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on July 15,1606 in Leiden Netherlands. Although his family lived modestly his parents took great care with his education. At the age of fourteen he attended the University of Leiden.
He soon left university to pursue a career as an artist. He studied under a local master named Jacob van Swanenburch and Pieter Lastman who was known for his historical paintings. It was not long before he was a master at his craft. At twenty-two he began taking on students of his own.
In 1631 he moved to Amsterdam and married three years later to Saskia van Uylenburgh. Her cousin was a successful art dealer who introduced him to wealthy patrons who commissioned portraits. The Portrait of Nicolaes Ruts is an example of the type of portraits he painted during that period.
Besides painting portraits Rembrandt’s mythological and religious works were much in demand. Rembrandt was an artist who was a celebrated artist of his time. Works of art such as The Blinding of Samson and Stormy Landscape had people in awe of his vision.
From the outside, Rembrandt’s seemed to have it all. He had a great career doing what he loved to do as well as the love of a good woman. While he should have been enjoying a prosperous career he and his wife suffered one great personal loss after another. Within a span of five years each of his three children would die in infancy. In 1641 a son they named Titus would break that cycle. However, tragedy always seemed to prevail. Although their son lived, Saskia’s death would come one short year later.
In 1649 after a brief affair with his son’s nanny Geertghe Dircx, Rembrandt found someone to share his life with. Hendrickje Stoffels formally his housekeeper soon became his partner in love and the subject for many of his paintings.
Although he was successful in his career as an artist, teacher and art dealer he was living well beyond his means which finally drove him to declare bankruptcy in 1656. Much of his collection of art and antiquities including the sale of his house went to pay his huge debts.
Works of Art
During these times some of his greatest works were created. The Jewish Bride, The Syndics of the Cloth Guild, Bathsheba, Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, and a Self Portrait saw much success.
His personal life seemed cursed as again he was robbed of a second chance at love. Hendrickje died in 1663 and two years later his only son would meet the same fate. Within a short year later on October 4th, 1669 at sixty-three years old Rembrandt passed on. He will always live on through the many masterpieces he left behind as he proves to be an inspiration to many.