So, this is a belated Happy 406th birthday, Rembrandt! kind of post.
Yeah, you know, one of those.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (did you know Rembrandt wasn’t his last name?) was born on 15th July 1606, in the Dutch city of Leiden. During his prolific painting career, he produced anywhere between 300-600 paintings, and at least 2,000 drawings – no one can be entirely sure of specific numbers. In a letter written to his friend, the statesman Constantijn Huygens (who first discovered Rembrandt), he explained what he aimed to depict in his work: “the greatest and most natural movement”.
As well as working as an artist in his own right, he also taught a host of pupils in his workshop. The students graduated to become some of the most prestigious Dutch painters of the era, including Abraham Janssens and Gerbrand van den Eeckhout; another former pupil, Godfrey Kneller, became the English court’s most popular portrait painter.
We couldn’t decide if he’d like a present or not – what do you get for one of Europe’s greatest artists (who’s also been dead for over 300 years)? – so we decided to compromise and draw up a list of some of our favourites of his works. Enjoy…