Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn – better known as Rembrandt, was a Dutch painter, printmaker and a draughtsman.
He was born on July 15th, 1606, and he is regarded as one of the greatest visual artists of all time.
Continue reading and discover all these amazing facts about Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt van Rijn Facts
1. Rembrandt van Rijn came from a numerous family
Rembrandt van Rijn was born in a small town called Leiden in the Netherlands. His full name was Rembrant Harmenszoon van Rijn, but when he was older he decided to add a silent d in his name, going from Rembrant to Rembrandt.
He was the ninth child and even though his father was a miller, he was able to offer his offspring a comfortable upbringing, so Rembrandt ended up studying at the Latin School in his town.
Rembrandt had good grades, and once he turned 14 years old, he attended the famous University of Leiden. However, he soon realized he didn’t want to continue his studies there, and he eventually left school and became an apprentice to an artist called Jacob van Swanenburgh, an interesting Rembrandt fact.
2. He decided to study in Amsterdam
Rembrandt felt Leiden didn’t offer him what he needed, especially since he wanted to explore his artistic talents. This is why he moved to Amsterdam in 1624, and he studied with Pieter Lastman.
However, he moved back to Leiden in order to become an independent painter, and he used to share a workshop alongside Jan Lievens, another famous painter. It wasn’t an easy place to be in, as Lievens and Rembrandt didn’t get along.
But Rembrandt was ambitious and he decided to make a name for himself as a portrait painter. He was known now in Leiden as an excellent painter, and in 1631 Rembrandt decided to move back to Amsterdam where he immediately started to paint portraits of people.
3. Rembrandt’s portraits were truly special
Rembrandt was a unique painter and this can be seen in his work. He made people look natural, relaxed and real. He was also able to capture a person’s essence, their personality, and all the feelings they had at the moment of immortalizing themselves.
An interesting fact about Rembrandt is that he is also known for his use of light and shadow, and even though many artists have tried to copy him ever since, he was truly the greatest painter in terms of the techniques he used.
4. Rembrandt’s personal life was filled with problems
When Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, he stayed at his art dealer’s house. There, he also met his landlord’s young cousin called Saskia. They married in 1634.
Two years later, in 1634, they had their first son, Rumbartus, but he died a couple of weeks after his birth.
On the other hand, Rembrandt’s professional life was blooming, and in 1639, the Rembrandt family decided to move to a bigger house where he had more space for his art collection.
Saskia was pregnant again, they had a daughter named Cornelia, but she also died. Then, a couple of years later, Saskia was giving birth to another girl, who they decided to name Cornelia too. But she also died.
Finally, in 1641, Saskia gave birth to a son, called Titus. However, Saskia died nine months after her son’s birth. Rembrandt was now alone with a baby to care for, so he decided to employ a servant named Hendrickje Stoffels.
The new couple lived happily together, a Rembrandt would often paint her. Twelve years after first getting together, Rembrandt and Stoffels had a daughter, also named Cornelia.
Stoffels died in 1663, and a couple of years later, more specifically in 1668, Titus died as well, three months after finding out that his wife was pregnant. Rembrandt died the following year.
5. Rembrandt van Rijn never left The Netherlands
During Rembrandt’s time, it was fairly normal to travel around Europe in order to see the world and explore different cultures.
An interesting fact about Rembrandt is that he didn’t do it, in fact, he never left his country. Of course, he was influenced by Italian painters, but he only knew about them thanks to his fellow painters who did travel abroad, and the little information he was able to get his hands on.
Rembrandt felt he didn’t have to leave his country to study, but his teachers did go to Italy, so they were able to teach Rembrandt different lighting techniques.
6. Rembrandt was bankrupted when he died
In the 1650s, the economic situation in Amsterdam was terrible as they were going through a massive economic depression.
Rembrandt was not able to pay the loan he took to buy his house, and he was also a big spender.
Creditors began chasing Rembrandt, asking him to pay the money back. He wasn’t able to do so, and in July 1656, he applied for a Cessio Bonorum, which was a legal way to become bankrupt without going to prison, an interesting fac about Rembrandt.
Everything he owned was sold off immediately, in order to pay off his debts. This meant that Rembrandt, Titus and Hendrickje had to move to a much smaller house. Things were tough for the family, as they now had to get used to living a simpler life.
The legacy that Rembrandt left behind is truly impressive, mainly because he is considered as one of the greatest artists in history.
Rembrandt painted more than 600 paintings, and he became a huge influence for other artists – both from his time until nowadays.
His most famous painting was made in 1642 and it’s called The Night Watch. But Rembrandt also did hundreds of drawings and etchings when he was alive.
Rembrand existed during the 17th century, which puts him in the Dutch Golden Age line of work.
He also liked to paint a variety of things and situations, and this can be seen when Rembrandt explored themes from the Bible or when he painted landscapes.
And even though his personal life was filled with difficulties, Rembrandt van Rijn always put his art – and his love for the arts – first. He was an excellent artist but he was also a wonderful art collector.
I hope that this article on Rembrandt facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!