His name has lived in the hearts and minds of lovers of fine art and especially portraiture since the 1600’s beginning in his native Holland. His fame was quick to spread beyond Hollands borders. He became a symbol for all things artistic, exuberant and beautiful. As his esteem grew his importance and legend grew in equal stature. He would truly become and be called “Prince of Painters.” This unofficial but lovingly granted title was rightly and justly earned. Rembrandt van Rijn will remain likely as such as long as the art of painting and excellence is considered important in this world.
Rembrandt excelled at many different schools of painting and forms of “picture making” he was a master draftsman and printer. He thrilled the many by creating biblical scenes, landscapes, mythologies and allegorical pieces. Among his most revered works are The Night Watch, The 100 Guilders Print and The Raising of Lazarus.
The massive gifts of Rembrandt are evident and displayed in his understanding of humanity, his story-telling and his love of detail. With all that has been previously stated; it is his dramatic manipulation and control of light that is his hallmark. The technique known as chiaroscuro (the placing of extreme lightness in conjunction with extreme darkness) was never better executed than by the hand of Rembrandt. For that alone he could have been immortalized.
A few years ago at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC I was able to visit one of Rembrandt’s greatest pieces with someone special; my very young grandson. This happened to be a slow day at the museum and we pretty much had the gallery to ourselves. Looking at this particular one of the “Master’s” self-portraits was more akin to looking at a living breathing man. You could almost imagine this gentile, knowing soul blinking or taking a breath. Rembrandt had gone beyond photo-realism, surrealism or any noted form of realism. He had endowed life or as close as the alchemy of painting would allow.
After a time I asked my grandson if he would like to meet this man? He had remained very calm for a child his then age as I held him raised in my arms. He answered; yes.
I told him we have met him to a certain manner of speaking through Rembrandt’s exacting and specific methods. Time had been made to stand still. This work of art; the artist Rembrandt had stood before at this exact proximity and distance as he worked the canvas, stood before the piece looking, studying, pausing, painting then seeing again, creating. It was almost as if we were breathing the same air that Rembrandt had breathed so many centuries ago. We left the Rembrandt to move on to other works in this world class collection of art. We left the Rembrandt to another visitor, a respectful man who had waited patiently for his own time, personal moments with the master.
The selected works of Rembrandt featured here; hopefully, will touch your psyche in a special, singular way…in such a way as only can be reached through the embracing of his gifts, the gifts of Rembrandt’s visionary talents.
"Compare me with Rembrandt! What sacrilege! With Rembrandt, the colossus of Art! We should prostrate ourselves before Rembrandt and never compare anyone with him!"
"I have had three masters: Nature, Velázquez, and Rembrandt.
"Whenever I see a Frans Hals, I feel like painting; whenever I see a Rembrandt, I feel like giving up"