Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn



2015-06-26 10:45:36

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn was a celebrated Dutch artist who worked during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th Century.


One of the most famous painters of all times, Rembrandt was born in Leiden, Netherlands on 15th July, 1606. Although he came from a rather modest background, his parents ensured that Rembrandt received a good education. Rembrandt commenced his studies at the Latin School and joined the University of Leiden at the age of 14.

However, he soon left the University and went to Amsterdam to study under Pieter Lastman, who was well known in Netherlands for his historical paintings. Within a span of six months, Rembrandt mastered all that was needed and started on his own. In 1629, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam and later married Saskia van Uylenburgh.

Saskia was the relative of a very prominent art dealer and this contact brought Rembrandt in connection with many wealthy patrons. Although he achieved success at a very early age, his latter years were marked by tragedies and hardship. Saskia gave birth to four children and only the last one, Titus, survived. Unfortunately, Saskia died during 1642 at the young age of 30.

Later during 1668, his only son, Titus, who was only 27, died. Totally shattered by the constant tragedies, Rembrandt died eleven months later, on October 4, 1669.

Guide For Collectors

To identify a Rembrandt original from a fake is quite a task as there are so many “Rembrandtsque” like paintings around and which have not been signed by Rembrandt. As his students did most of them, the appraisers find it is so difficult to authenticate an original.

A small tip for those who intend to purchase a Rembrandt is that during his early period, Rembrandt used thin paint and painted with detail. However, in his latter stages, he sometimes used a palette knife and even applied thick paint. In other words, a transition from smooth to the rough.

He was a genius in using strong lights and heavy shadows so as to create a feeling of depth in the painting. The museums in Netherlands have painstakingly recorded the types of canvas he used in each period and have even conducted exhaustive chemical studies on the types of paint used.

Obviously, a Rembrandt oil painting would cost much more than a charcoal sketch, or an etching or a print. Few examples include a charcoal sketch of a "Strolling Couple" was auctioned on 26th January, 2011 at Christie's New York for $458,500.

Other prominent auctioned Rembrandt pieces include a charcoal on paper of Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver auctioned at Sotheby's New York on 26th January, 2011 for $722,500 and a spectacular print of Christ crucified between the two Thieves "The Three Crosses" auctioned on 2nd December, 2008 at Christie's London for $626,820.

Likewise, an etched copper plate of "Abraham entertaining the Angels" was auctioned of at Christie's New York for $350,693 on 26th June 1997. Even if a Rembrandt painting does not turn out to be an original, it could likely fetch the owner over $100,000, if it is from the 17th century, as people love antique paintings.

Most Expensive Works

Any Rembrandt is expensive and therefore, it is not surprising that Auction houses sell Rembrandts for millions of dollars. "The Portrait of a man with arms akimbo" which was auctioned on 8th December, 2009 at Christie's London is believed to be the costliest Rembrandt that has been auctioned. It went for $32.8 million and was bought by an anonymous client over the phone.

The second highest auction price for a Rembrandt was for his "Portrait of a lady, aged 62,” which was auctioned on 13th December 2000 at Christie's London for $28.7 million. The painting is said to be Rembrandt's old mother and it shows an integrity and sincerity of a genius.

The third highest auction price for a Rembrandt was “Saint James the Greater,” which was sold on 25th January 2007 for $25.8 million at Sotheby’s New York. The Vice Chairman and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department Worldwide said that the $25.8 million paid for Rembrandt’s Saint James the Greater was the second highest price ever paid (at that time) for a work by this master. It was sold to an anonymous buyer bidding through a Sotheby’s representative. All the above pieces include buyer's premium and there is the likelihood of the exchange rates varying.

Most Famous Works

Rembrandt's greatest works are exemplified through his self-portraits, portraits of his patrons, and religious paintings. The Rembrandt Research Project estimate that Rembrandt has done close to 300 paintings, although the market says there is over 600.

The most notable collections of Rembrandt's work are at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, including The Night Watch, The Jewish Bride, and Syndics of the Drapers' Guild. His home, preserved as the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, displays many examples of his etchings.

A few paintings that were sold during October 2011 include "Christ and the woman taken into adultery" that was sold on 26th October, 2011 at Bonham’s New York for $66,100. Another painting "Portrait Of The Artist' was sold on 27th October, 2011 for $175,881 at Sotheby's London. There are also a lot of prints, posters and original Rembrandt etchings that are also being sold via online art galleries.

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