Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Rembrandt Harmenszon van Rijn, born 15 July 1606 in Leiden, was the youngest son of at least ten children, he left the University to study the fundamentals of painting with the Leiden artist Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburgh (1571-1638).

Rembrandt was enthusiastically praised by the secretary to the Prince of Orange, Constantijn Huygens (1596-1674) who admired particularly his ability to convey feeling through gesture and expression.

In 1663 a plague that ravaged Amsterdam claimed the life of his lifetime companion Hendrickje Stoffels . Four years later his son Titus married Madgalena van Loo (1642-1669), but the following year, in 1668, he also died, the victim of another plague epidemic. When Rembrandt died on 4 October 1669, he was buried in an unknown rented grave in the Westerkerk, Amsterdam.

The Latin title 'Ecce Homo' is taken from the Bible, and means 'Behold the man!' These words were said by Pontius Pilate during the trial of Jesus. Pilate presents Christ to the people, who, urged on by their priests, demand his execution, insisting that they have no king but Caesar. This monochrome work is called a grisaille, it is the preparatory study (1634) for an etching made by Rembrandt in 1635.

In 1972 Ecce Homo went for 32,000 Gns ($80,604) on auction. It is now the property of the National Gallery London.

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