Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is considered to be “the man” of the Dutch Golden Age of Painting. Critics hail the penetrative quality of his paintings which overshadows his luxuriant brushwork, rich colour, and a mastery of chiaroscuro. He was born on July 15, 1606, in Leiden, the Netherlands. He a son of a miller who wanted the boy to follow a learned profession, but Rembrandt left the University of Leiden to study painting.
In 1629 Rembrandt found a patron in the statesman and poet Constantijn Huygens, the father of Christiaan Huygens (a famous Dutch mathematician and physicist). Huygens procured for Rembrandt important commissions from the court of the Hague. As a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik patronised Rembrandts work for quite a long time.
In his early years, Rembrandt chose to adopt Christian Paintings as his medium of expression.He painted dramatic biblical and mythological scenes in high contrast and of large format. He also began accepting portrait commissions.
He then moved on to landscape paintings. He chose to depict the drama in nature, often his landscapes highlighted natural disasters, featuring uprooted trees and ominous skies.
Subsequently his paintings got more sober in tone, reflecting personal tragedy. He went back to Biblical scenes, which were now derived more often from the New Testament than the Old Testament, as had been the case before. His later paintings became smaller in size.The landscape paintings too, saw a vast change . The dark forces of nature made way for quiet Dutch rural scenes.
However by the 1650s his paintings increased in size. His brushstrokes were more confident and colors bold . These changes were indeed distinctly different from his earlier style current fashion, which increasingly inclined toward fine, detailed works. His treatment of biblical themes changed too, emphasis shifted from dramatic group scenes to intimate portrait-like figures.
Jacob de Gheyn III- The most stolen Painting in the World
This famous potrait of a Duth engraver is actually a part of a pair. Its other part a portrait of de Gheyn's friend Maurits Huygens, wearing similar clothing and facing the opposite direction .Rembrandt was commission to paint to paint them in identical formats and he did so upon the same oak panel. This paintings has earned the dubious distinction of being called "takeaway Rembrandt" as it has been stolen four times since 1966 – the most recorded of any painting.
Rembrandt is considered the greatest Dutch Painter of all times because his drawings constitute a vivid record of contemporary Amsterdam life. His technically sound approach towrds painting made his work unique, he was a master of light and shadow whose paintings, drawings, and etchings. He was indeed a giant in the history of art.