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Arts and Crafts

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

About Rembrandt van Rijn

On July 15th, 1606, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in Leiden, The Netherlands. He was the 8th child born to Gerritsz van Rijn, who was a miller, and Neeltgen Willemsdr. van Zuytbrouck. Although his parents had 10 children, only three sons and one daughter survived.

His parents ensured Rembrandt got a good education and he started Latin school in 1613. Two months before his 14th birthday, Rembrandt enrolled in the University of Leiden and was educated in grammar and rhetoric and classical and biblical stories. This was of no interest to Rembrandt and he left to study art.

Rembrandt becomes an apprentice to a local master, Jacob Isaacszoon van Swanenburgh and later to Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. After just six months, Rembrandt knows all there is to learn and returns to Leiden in 1625, where he becomes an independent painter.

He is doing well and due to his rising fame and good reputation as an artist, he takes on his first students in 1628.

In 1631, Rembrandt moves to Amsterdam where he stays and works at the house of Hendrick Uylenburgh. It is here where he meets the landlord's cousin Saskia Uylenburgh and the couple gets married in Friesland in 1634.

Since Saskia is also the cousin of a successful art dealer, Rembrandt is soon known among the wealthy and is commissioned many portraits. The couple stays at the house of Saskia' uncle until 1635, when Rembrandt moves into his own quarters and in 1637 into what is now called the "Rembrandt house" in the Anthoniebreestraat in Amsterdam.

Rembrandt and Saskia have four children, but only their last son Titus who was born in 1641 survives. Not long after his birth, Saskia dies at the age of 30 in 1642.

Rembrandt hires Geertje Dircks as a nanny for son Titus and begins a relationship with her, but they are having financial and personal problems and in 1650 Rembrandt has Geertje detained in the Gouda house of correction.

1649 Hendrickje Stoffels is hired as their maidservant and although she and Rembrandt never got married, because it would mean loosing Saskia's estate, she eventually became his common-law wife and was the model for many of his pictures and gave birth to a daughter, Cornelia, in 1654.

Due to his lifestyle, Rembrandt had to declare bankruptcy in 1656 and in order to save his inheritance, he transfers his house to his son Titus and in 1658 they moved to a rented house on the Rozengracht in Amsterdam.

In order to give Rembrandt time to paint, hendrickje and Titus put the company and its inventory in their names on December 15th, 1660. Unfortunately, on July 24th of 1663, Hendrickje Stoffels dies; it is suspected she died of the plague and was buried in a rented grave in Amsterdam.

Rembrandt's son Titus, died a few years later in 1668 at the age of 27 and eleven months after that, on October 4, 1669, Rembrandt dies in Amsterdam. He is buried in the Westerkerk in an unknown rented grave.

See also:
Rembrandt van Rijn's Work
Rembrandt van Rijn's Economical Impact

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