Remembering Rembrandt

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, better known simply by his forename, Rembrandt, died on this day the 4th of October, 1669. During his life, the Dutch Republic, aka the United Provinces, was in its Golden Age (gouden Eeuw) and this region prospered not only economically, but culturally – with some of the most beautiful works of Baroque art being created.

Rembrandt had a unique style, which stood him apart from other Dutch Golden Age painters, and the same can be said for his contemporary, Jan Vermeer. This period found beauty in many things – from the famous cut flowers in a vase to landscapes, all were done in a unique manner. In my opinion, Rembrandt had a particular skill with depicting moments in time with humans.

Rembrandt was prolific in his work and I have added here some of his most famous work below. It’s important to take time to appreciate such famous works. Some things are famous because they strike a chord with the human soul in some way.

Here is Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” which I will never forget having seen at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – what an amazing painting. What is impossible to imagine is the sheer size of this painting – it fills a huge wall. I never thought it would be so large. Imagine what a huge undertaking such a large painting would have been.

“The Night Watch,” Rembrandt, 1640-2. Located at The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

This next piece, entitled, “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp,” is fascinating both in terms of subject and angle. Remember, great study of the human body really began to take off during the seventeenth century with anatomy, rudimentary blood transfusions, and Harvey’s study of circulating blood. Fascinating stuff and it all seems to come to life through this piece, at least in my opinion.

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, by Rembrandt, 1632. Portrait found at the Mauritshuis, The Hague.

“Het Joodse bruidje” – “The Jewish Bride” by Rembrandt, circa 1667. Located at The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

And so, on this day, the anniversary of Rembrandt’s death, I would love if you would have a look at some of his work, out of respect for his art. If you are not already acquainted with Rembrandt’s work, I suggest you look at this excellent website dedicated to him: http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/index.htm

If you are able to travel to Amsterdam, may I suggest a visit to the amazing Rijsmuseum, you will not regret it: http://www.rijksmuseum.nl/

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