Rembrandt van Rijn, 1606 -1669
In many ways, Rembrandt’s etchings are more important than his paintings, in that he revolutionized the medium that was in his day simply a copyist’s tool. Rembrandt painted portraits to make money... he made etchings for his personal pleasure and to feed his creative genius. In etching Rembrandt allowed himself to create whatever he wanted without the academic restraints of the day.
Rembrandt was a great master of the Baroque Age and one of its most innovative and influential printmakers. He created more than 300 prints in his lifetime, many of which he labored over obsessively, often resulting in six or more states.
Scholars have divided his print output into different categories according to subject—each reveals a different part of the artist's personality. His self-portraits reveal the complexity of his psychology and reveal his general moods over the years. His many religious prints demonstrate an incredible biblical knowledge, while his beggar and genre scenes are still being analyzed for their meaning and intent. The intensity of Rembrandt's attachment to the print media has inspired many later artists to dedicate themselves to the task of printmaking.
Rembrandt's Life. 1606—Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn born in Leiden. 1620—Enrolled at Leiden University. ca. 1621—Studied with the Leiden painter Jacob van Swanenburg. 1624-25—Studied with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. 1625—Returned to Leiden and set up his own studio. 1631—Moved permanently to Amsterdam. 1634—Married Saskia van Uyenburgh. 1639—Moved with Saskia into the house on the Breestraat, the present Rembrandt House. 1641—Son Titus born. Saskia dies shortly after never fully recovering from his birth. Hendrickje Stoffels enters the household eventually becoming Rembrandt's common law wife. 1660—Rembrandt moved to the Rozengracht. 1668—Titus married, but died in the autumn of the same year. 1669—Rembrandt died and was buried in the Westerkerk.