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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Later Years, Late Masterworks

In 1660 his housekeeper and devoted love for many years, Hendrickje Stoffels, and Titus formed a business partnership to shield the bankrupt Rembrandt from his creditors. In the last two decades of his life Rembrandt, withdrawn from society and no longer fashionable, created many of his masterpieces. These works were more concerned with human character than with outward appearance and are the foundation of his unequaled reputation. Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer (1653; Metropolitan Mus.) reveals his power to elicit a mood of profound mystery and meditation. Among the other remarkable paintings of this period is Bathsheba (Louvre); two of the notable etchings are Three Crosses (1653) and Christ Presented to the People (1655).

The powerful night scene The Conspiracy of the Batavians (1661; Stockholm) is the remaining fragment of his most monumental historical work. To the 1660s belong The Family Group (Brunswick), The Jewish Bride (Rijksmus.), and The Syndics of the Cloth Guild (1662; Rijksmus.), all of which are loosely structured, flamelike in color, and psychologically penetrating. Personal tragedy struck the master with the death of Hendrickje in 1663 and of Titus in 1668. Rembrandt lived for one more year, survived by Cornelia, his and Hendrickje's only child.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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