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Rembrandt van Rijn

Artist

Born: 15 July 1606
Died: 4 October 1669
Birthplace: Leiden, Netherlands
Best known as: The Dutch master known for his self-portraits
One of the great Dutch painters and printmakers of the 17th century, Rembrandt van Rijn is best known for his expressive use of light and shadow (also called chiaroscuro) in his many portraits. Raised in Leiden, he studied with Pieter Lastman (1583-1633) in Amsterdam, then returned to Leiden around 1625 and set up shop as a teacher and portrait artist. Sometime between 1630 and 1632 Rembrandt relocated to Amsterdam, where he spent the rest of his career. Though he had his detractors (some of whom considered him coarse and "low born"), Rembrandt was successful and famous during his lifetime, though he fell on financial hard times in his later years. He was a master printer and produced hundreds of group portraits and historical paintings, including The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (1632), The Military Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (1642) and Aristotle with a Bust of Homer (1653). His portraits -- including a lifelong trail of intriguing and rather frank self-portraits -- reveal his interest in psychological study and continue to be admired as landmarks in Western art.
Extra credit: The Military Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq is also known as "The Night Watch" because it was thought the painting depicted a nighttime scene. When the painting was cleaned in the 1940s it became obvious that it depicted a daytime scene... He married Saskia van Ulenburgh (also Uylenburgh) in 1634. They had a son, Titus, in 1641, and Saskia died in 1642; both Titus and Saskia appear in many of Rembrandt's paintings.

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