H ow did Rembrandt die? He was 63 at the time, but scholars say there is no record of any illness. The poets might say he died of grief, about a year after the death of his only surviving son, Titus.
Here are a few facts about Rembrandt and his life that are a lot less famous than his larger-than-life talent that has stood the test of time:. Although in artistic terms, Amsterdam is deemed the city of Rembrandt, the painter spent the first 25 years of his life in Leiden. So he went to Amsterdam to study with Pieter Lastman.
Etching on laid paper, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo: NGC.
Tales of masters involved with their maids have as much allure today as they did in history. In the news, we read sordid tales of Hollywood stars romantically involved with their personnel and the scandal reports of shameless household help preying on vulnerable celebrities. But what makes these relationships so intriguingly immoral? Is it the element of adultery because many of the employers are married?
Artist: Rembrandt van Rijnwhose intimate, expressionist paintings were modern before modernism, and are indisputably the greatest portraits of all time. Subject: Hendrickje Stoffels d. Soon afterwards she became Rembrandt's lover.
Geertje is his housekeeper and ultimately secret keeper for there are many secrets in that house and within the man himself that no -one not even those closest to him can break. For when Hendrickje, a girl from a strict Calvinist family comes to work there, she sees the sexual relationship develop between Rembrandt and Geertje. Shocked and excited by what she sees, she is drawn to the man herself and soon she will discover if her involvement with him will be her downfall or her salvation.
One previous page sticks particularly in the mind. It is of Bacon standing in front of a wall which he has covered, typically, with pages torn from books and magazines. Peering down over the artist's shoulder is one of these, the crumpled image of an old man.
By the time I eventually plucked up the courage to tackle the subject, the fashion in Rembrandt studies was beady-eyed disenchantment. The "G" word, as in genius, was dismissed as romantic fetishism; and talk of exceptional originality not explainable by historical or social context was written off as starry-eyed mush. At the same time the Rembrandt Research Project was at its most Jacobin, whittling down a bloated corpus to a scientifically verifiable core: a challenge ultimately defeated by an inability to agree on what the baseline of indisputable Rembrandtism looked like, or indeed how it could ever be fixed in the work of so notoriously shape-shifting an artist. The reclassification of many Rembrandt-effect paintings as works of pupils or assistants had pluralised the artist into a brand, rather than a solitary figure.
In so doing, you will, in good time, discover the hidden things you now inquire about. An intense psychological study of people, objects, and their surroundings coupled with an earnest Christian devotion fueled Rembrandt's life and work. Incredibly gifted as an artist from a very young age, he became a master of portraits of all types, historical, biblical, and mythological scenes, as well as simple, charming but dramatic landscapes.