Painter, etcher, commercial artist, draughtsman, art collector and art dealer
Rembrandt was born around 1606/07 in Leiden, attended the city's Latin school from 1613 to 1615, and beginning in 1620 the university. In 1622 he began a three-year apprenticeship with the Leiden history painter Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburg. During a subsequent stay of roughly six months in the workshop of Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam around 1625/26, he came in contact with the new trends of the early Baroque. Around 1626 Rembrandt settled in Leiden as an independent painter, and on 14 February 1628 accepted Gerrit Dou as a pupil in his workshop. After moving to Amsterdam in 1631 and marrying Saskia van Uylenburgh in 1634 he very quickly achieved artistic successes. As an Amsterdam citizen, he purchased a large residence in 1639. His wife, Saskia, died on 14 June 1642. After her death he hired Geertje Dircx as a nurse for his son Titus, born the previous September. In 1649 she tried to sue him, in vain, for breach of promise to marry. The conflict led in the following year to her commitment to an asylum in Gouda. As a new life partner, Hendrickje Stoffels, who had been his housekeeper as early as 1647, supported the artist. Along with appeals owing to unlawful cohabitation, Rembrandt fell into financial difficulties in the 1650s. Because of his inability to pay, an inventory of his possessions was drawn up in 1656 that documents his extensive collections. After the auction of his house and collections, Hendrickje and Titus transferred the painter's affairs into their own names in 1660. At this time, Rembrandt took in Aert de Gelder as his last pupil. His late work includes numerous portraits of important Amsterdam personalities. Hendrickje died in 1663, his son Titus in 1668, and a year later Rembrandt himself died. His work is greatly revealing of his own biography, which is an essential component of his modernity, especially that of his many self-portraits. His subjects - portraits, histories, genre and landscape - are in themselves traditional, but reinterpreted by his personal vision. His extensive graphic oeuvre - he can be considered the most important etcher of the seventeenth century - is as distinguished as his painting. Also thanks to his large number of pupils, including Carel Fabritius, Ferdinand Bol, Jan Victors, Govaert Flinck, Nicolaes Maes, Gerbrandt van den Eeckhout and Samuel van Hoogstraten, Rembrandt was one of the most influential artists of the so-called "Golden Age" of Netherlandish painting and one of the giants of Western painting.