I readily admit that I did not fully appreciate or know the role Amsterdam has played in our Worlds History. Amsterdam was home to Anne Frank and her family and friends, she was in fact living in a hidden room in a house in the middle of one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Amsterdam. Many of the Worlds Artists either lived in or passed through Amsterdam during the height of their careers. The Golden Age of art. Rembrandt, Vemeer, Van Gogh, Jan Steen , Frans Hals and so many more.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn,
1606 – 1669
The name Rembrandt is known world wide, today’s post is about his home, his life and his passion, art.
What was Rembrandt’s life like? Where did Holland’s most renowned artist etch and paint his masterpieces? Where did the most dramatic events of his life take place? His house of course.
The Rembrandt House (Museum Het Rembrandt-Huis) This is a pretty fascinating place in terms of a museum. The house that Rembrandt owned is in the middle of old Amsterdam (Old Silk) and in it’s time was the most expensive home in the city. In 1639 Rembrandt bought this house for $13,000 Guilders; at the height of his fame. $13,000 Guilders probably doesn’t sound like much in today’s money, however in the 1639 the average ANNUAL income was only $300 guilders. In 1656 he went bankrupt he simply could not pay his debts. Every single thing of value in his home was sold at Auction, including a large collection of art and rare objects. Prior to the sell off a notary drew up a complete list of his possessions, right down to the smallest items he held in his possesion. This is why it is known how the house was furnished in Rembrandt’s time.
The historic interior of Rembrandt’s house was painstakingly restored to it’s former glory and furnished with items and works of art from the master’s time, even down to the seashells that were placed in Rembrandt’s Art room. While wandering through the 17th century rooms, it’s easy to imagine what it was like to live in Rembrandt’s day.
The Rembrandt’s House owns an almost complete collection of Rembrandt’s world-famous etchings. Besides Paintings, Rembrandt started his career developing etchings which today outnumber his paintings significantly A changing selection is on permanent display in the museum. There are also regular special exhibitions devoted to Rembrandt and to past and present artists who have been inspired by Rembrandt.
Most days you will find an artist in house to show you how Rembrandt produced his famous Etchings. Rembrandt built his career through etchings and became very famous throughout Europe for them. Unlike a number of other Artists in Rembrandt’s time, he was a wealthy artist during his life, but lost everything; some say it was due to his famous painting titled, The Night Watch, however more likely it was just poor financial management.
The Night Watch today is considered his greatest Masterpiece, however in it’s time it was panned by the critics and the commissioning Militiamen. The Night Watch differs radically from other contemporary portraits of companies of civi guards, in which they are depicted seated, serious and soberly dressed. Rembrandt, by contrast showed a tumultuous scene, the Captain issuing orders to his lieutenant, the men taking up arms ready to march. Because of this, the painting itself caused quite a stir in it’s time.
After filling Bankruptcy in 1656, he moved into a rental property and died in 1669. Prior to this he buried his Wife, Saskia Van Uylenburgh in 1642. Many people attribute the combination of his wife’s death and his bankruptcy to be his ultimate downfall which led to his death.
The top 10 events in the life of
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
1606 ~ Born in Leiden.
1624 ~ Studies with Pieter Lastman.
1634 ~ Recieves his first important commission and marries Saskia Van Uyleburgh.
1639 ~ His Reputation grows; buys large house in Amsterdam.
1641 ~ Titus, his only child to survive into adulthood is born.
1642~ Saskia dies.
1642 ~ The Night Watchman completed
1649 ~ Hendrickje Stoffels moves in.
1656 ~ Applies for Bankruptcy
1656 ~ Hendrickje Stoffels and Titus acquire the rights to his works.
1668 ~ Death of his Son Titus.
1669 ~ Death of Rembrandt.
Rembrandt was well known for painting a number of self portraits, in fact it seems as though he may have been a little high on his self. Today, the majority of those self portraits are considered some of his most important works.
When touring the Museum it is easy to miss the importance of the house itself. With the house completely restored, you will find yourself looking at all the art on the walls, his studio and the etchings. But with a completely restored house, it is easy to see how he lived his life, which I think tells as much about the man as his art does. If your interested in taking a Virtual tour of the Rembrandt House, click here.
|Saskia Van Uyleburgh
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