Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Something very exciting happened today. I got to teach my first art lesson today to a fifth grade class! The class and I talked about Rembrandt’s life and paintings and because of this, I realized that I hadn’t yet posted here about this great artist.

Rembrandt was born in Holland in 1606, the son of a miller and a baker’s daughter. Like many artists of the time, Rembrandt learned to paint through apprenticeships. He worked first with a history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh, and then with a more famous artist, Pieter Lastman. When he was 18 or 19, Rembrandt opened a studio with another painter and student of Lastman, Jan Lievens. Rembrandt soon began accepting students of his own and by the end of his life he had taught most of the well-known artists of his day.

Rembrandt’s first subjects were bible stories but he quickly expanded to paint historical scenes. He used oil paints so his paintings were glossy and he loved bright colors, though not the way the Nabis would use color in the 1800s; he used bright colors to create natural-looking paintings. You can see this in the picture below, The Scholar.
In 1632, he began to paint portraits. It was these portraits that made him famous. He made great connections that allowed him to paint many important people, including the prince! Rembrandt also painted portraits of himself throughout his life (about 100 of them). These portraits let us know what he looked like as he grew up (from a teenager to an old man with wrinkles, both shown below).
He was married in 1632, then had four children. Three of his children died when they were young, and then his wife died in 1642. Rembrandt became depressed and his paintings became darker. He exchanged his bright yellows and reds for deep blues and greens and darker reds. These later paintings are considered by many to be even more beautiful than the cheerier paintings of his youth. This painting shown below, The Mill, is an example of Rembrandt's darker style, painted in 1650.
Rembrandt lived in a large house which he should have been able to pay off. He earned a lot of money painting because he was fantastically popular. The house eventually became the cause of money troubles, however, and in 1657 it was sold along with his possessions.

Rembrandt died in 1669, having created more than 600 paintings and 1700 other works of art.

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Beth said...

Did you do an art project with the kids related to Rembrandt?

cat said...

thank you so much! your blog is wonderful.