Saturday, October 13, 2007


Rembrandt Harmenszon van Rijn, born 15 July 1606 in Leiden, was the son of a miller, Harmen Gerritsz. van Rijn (1568-1630), and his wife Neeltgen van Zuytbrouck (1568-1640). 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 Rembrandt's ability to convey feeling through gesture and expression.

But in 1660 almost ruined Rembrandt had to turn himself into an art dealer to survive.

In 1663 a plague that ravaged Amsterdam claimed the life of his lifetime companion Hendrickje Stoffels . Four years later 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.

This portrait of an old man was painted in 1651 and belonged to the collection of the Duke of Devonshire in his Chatsworth House in the Derbyshire (England). In 1969 it was auctioned off for 300,000 Gns ($ 756,000) to art dealer Edward Speelman of 175 Piccadilly, London.

A not very good self-portrait by Rembrandt appraised for $ 20/30,000 sold for $ 103,000 in April 2008. After his death Rembrandt came to oblivion. His painting of the Night Watch was refused by every art dealer and eventually was accepted by a gymnasium at the condition that a small portion of it at the top be trimmed to fit the height of the walls of the gymnasium.

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