Serving as the forefather of the Dutch printmaking Renaissance, Rembrandt van Rijn is one of our personal favorites. More widely known for his stunning paintings that are featured in museums all over the world, Rembrandt etchings and engravings are highly underrated. They are a true testament to Rembrandt's range as an artist and printmaker, having been able to translate his mastery of light and playfulness with shadow in all of his prints featured here in our collection. [Read biography »]
Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt Biography
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in 1606 in Leiden the son of a miller and a baker's daughter. Originally intended to become a scholar, he went to Latin School and then enrolled at the University of Leiden. After only a year, in 1622, he left for an apprenticeship with the Leiden painter Jacob van Swanenburgh. After a few years with van Swanenburgh, he trained under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam for a brief period of time where his artistic development and identity as a Dutch artist really began to flourish. Coming back to Leiden, in 1625, he began a working association with his friend Jan Lievens. Making the final move to Amsterdam in 1631, Rembrandt cemented his status as a celebrated artist. Receiving many commissions, he was able to open a large workshop. In 1634 he married Saskia, a lawyer's daughter, and together they had a son named Titus.
In 1639 he bought a large house which he filled with works of art and curios. In 1642, the year he painted The Night Watch Saskia died, and from 1649 he lived with Hendrickje Stoffels eventually having a daughter with her. He lived beyond his means for many decades and in 1656 narrowly avoided bankruptcy, but his house and possessions were put up for compulsory auction. Rembrandt spent his final years in Amsterdam near disregard, his powers of creation however undiminished. He died in 1669, a year after his son, and was buried in an unmarked grave outside the city.
Rembrandt was the most universal artist of his time and he influenced painting for half a century, irrespective of schools or regional style. From his many fields of activity his pupils developed their own specialties, ranging from trompe l'oeil painting to the very detailed Leiden style. Unlike most Dutch painters of the time, who worked in fairly narrow fields, Rembrandt depicted almost every type of subject.
Although Amsterdam's leading portraitist for a decade (Jan Six Amsterdam, Foundation Six), also doing group portraits, The Staalmeesters, he was a painter of numerous biblical scenes (The Sacrifice of Isacc, St. Petersburgh, Hermitage), of the mythological works works (Philemon and Baucis, Washington, National Gallery) and landscapes (Landscape in Thunders Brunswik , Herzog-Utrich-Museum) as well at life. In his work, branches of painting often overlapped, as for example in the group portrait The Night Watch where he took liberties with a number of rules. Rembrandt's fame rests on his continual development of pictorial devices and unvarying excellence of execution (unlike the works of Rubens, man which were left in part to workshop routine), a well as on his brilliant handling of light and shade and his ability to suggest states of mind through facial expression.
Apart from his greatness as a painter, he was a powerful draughtsman and etcher, about 300 of which etchings survive. In this field he extended the technique and artistic possibilities, for example introducing the chiaroscuro effect, raising it to an art for in its own right. Amongst his approximately 15 drawings, the landscape scenes are particularly captivating in their serenity and harmony. Rembrandt's The Hundred Guilder Print is one of his most valuable and sought after etchings.
Why Rembrandt ?
A true master of detail through his expert use of line and shadow, it's not difficult to see why Rembrandt's works are consistently among the most sought after and valuable Old Master etchings and engravings today.
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