This time last week marked the 350th anniversary of Rembrandt van Rijn’s death, and still today he is known as one of the most famous names in art history. With all his renowned paintings, it is fair to ask who was Rembrandt and how did he come to be the famous historic artist he is today?
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in the Weddesteeg in Leiden on July 15th 1606. He grew up with siblings who took on jobs as bakers and cobblers but Rembrandt had an ongoing passion for art and chose this as a trade. At 25 he moved out and shadowed a local painter called Jacob van Swanenborgh and then moved to Amsterdam to study composition with Pieter Lastman. After six months he returned home where he opened his own shop where his reputation grew and started to sell his own art pieces.
In 1634 he married his wife Friesian Saskia van Uylenburgh, and moved into their first house in Amsterdam where they had five children. His popularity grew and rich merchants of the Golden Age adored his painting, making Rembrandt in high demand. However, his reputation and popularity decreased rapidly in 1640 as his attitude towards clients became careless. He only delivered a painting when he was in need of money and then demanding more than the agreed price.
In 1642, he painted his most famous piece, The Night Watch. It is said this was the first painting he created after the death of his wife Saskia. In 1715, the piece was moved to the Royal Palace on Dam Square, but the canvas was too big for its allocated space and was cut to size, losing 101cm! Since then the painting has had some battles to keep it in its original state. In 1911, a sailor who was fired from his job took his anger out on the government by trying to destroy the painting with a knife. Later on in 1975, a man cut out a whole ribbon of canvas which took eight months to restore. The most recent attack happened in 1990, where a man squirted acid on the painting, but luckily the museum guards saved it just in time.
After the death of his wife, Rembrandt spent his time painting and spending too much money which led him to become a poor man. He had to sell his house and belongings and moved to Rozengracht where he died in 1669. He was buried in the Westerkerk, it being the nearest church to his house.
In 2019, there are many places in London that exhibit his work including the National Portrait Gallery, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Dulwich Picture Gallery will be unveiling a landmark exhibition to celebrate 350 years since Rembrandt’s death. The unique art event, Rembrandt’s Light, is a chance to see 35 of the artist’s iconic paintings, etchings and drawings, including pieces on loan from The Louvre and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Theatrically arranged to create a beautiful journey through Rembrandt’s career, the exhibition has been designed to fully immerse audiences into his world.
As it’s such an exciting time to celebrate the life of Rembrandt, we couldn’t let it go to miss without getting involved. That’s why we’ve partnered up with Dulwich Picture Gallery to create the ultimate Rembrandt experience. We are offering two for the price of one exhibition tickets with a stay at the Rembrandt Hotel. Package includes one night stay for two at The Rembrandt, full English breakfast, free drink per person in 1606 lounge bar, and 10% off all beauty treatments at Aquilla Health and Fitness, a popular spa destination in Knightsbridge. To find out more or to make a booking please click here.
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