10 Famous Works of Rembrandt (Leiden, July 15, 1606-Amsterdam, October 4, 1669)
Born in Leiden, the Netherlands in 1606, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn attended elementary school from 1612 to 1616 and then attended the Latin School in Leiden, studying classical and sacred scriptures.
He was trained in arts with several masters of the time such as Jacob van Swanenburgh (1571-1638), from whom he learned techniques like how to paint fire, and objects illuminated by it, and with Pieter Lastman (1583-1633), a painter who possibly tought him to introduce biblical elements in his works and to deepen in this genre.
In 1625, Rembrandt was re-established in Leiden, now a teacher in his own right, and for the next six years he laid the foundations for his life’s work, a time when his fame began to spread. In 1628, Rembrandt took charge of the students and, over the years, he attracted many young people who sought to learn at his side.
From 1631 he began doing business with Hendrick Uylenburgh, a businessman in Amsterdam who expanded his contacts in the Dutch capital.
10 Famous Works of Rembrandt
1. The Night Watch 1642. Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
It is a group portrait of the company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburgh (center). It is not a night scene as has been thought, but took place in the light of day as shown by studies in the 40s of the twentieth century.
2. The storm in the Sea of Galilee. 1663
The painting shows Jesus of Nazareth calming the waters caused by the storm in the Sea of Galilee. Unfortunately, this painting was stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, so its current location is not known.
3. Self-portrait with two circles. 1665-1669. Kenwood House in London
It is possibly one of the most important portraits of Rembrandt where the author with his palette and brushes where the background has some relevant two circles. There has been much speculation about what the author’s intention was to paint them, although no conclusions have been reached.
4. Anatomy lesson by Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. 1632. Mauritshuis art museum in The Hague.
The picture shows an anatomy lesson carried by Dr. Nikolai Xtul who would later be mayor of Amsterdam. It was customary to organize a lesson of this kind every year and perform it on the lifeless body of a criminal; in this case being carried out in the body of Aris Kindt. It was commissioned by the union of surgeons to be located in the plenary hall of that institution.
5. Bathsheba at her Bath. 1654. Louvre Museum in Paris.
The picture shows the figure of Betzabe known as the “daughter of the oath”, daughter of Amiel. Betzabé was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later one of the women of King David. The story goes that when King David saw her in the bath he called his servants to bring her to sleep with her. Due to this fact Betzabé became pregnant and King David sent for her husband to sleep with her to think that he would be the father but as Betzabé had never been with a male. In the end, David made the decision to send her husband to the front of the enemy lines so that he died and finally married Betzabé.
6. Danaë 1636. Museum of the Hermitage of St. Petersburg.
Being painfully concerned about not having descendants, Patrick the father of Danae consulted the oracle and the oracle told him that he would be killed by the son of his daughter. To avoid this Tricio locked Danaë in a cave or in a castle so that she could not be Fecundated for life but Zeus penetrated in the form of golden rain the walls where Danaë was, leaving her pregnant.
7. The conspiracy of Claudius Civilis. 1661-62. National Museum of Stockholm.
It is one of the last pictures of the author with a non-religious theme. The painting shows the moment when, during a meal, the leader of Batavia, Claudio Civilis, approaches other commanders and brave warriors and asks them to take an oath against the Romans. Claudio Civilis appears blindly painted in one eye, as can be seen.
8. The sampling officials.1662. Amsterdam Rijksmuseum
Also called, The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild in Amsterdam, the picture shows a meeting of representatives of the Amsterdam Draper’s Guild, the only exception is a servant who appears in the background. The work was commissioned by the Amsterdam drapers Guild to be hung in his hall.
9. The Return of the Prodigal Son. Hermitage Museum’s Western European Art collection. c. 1668
It is one of the last works painted by the Dutch author and it seems that it was completed shortly before his death the work shows the famous scene of the return of the prodigal son with his father repenting of his sins and imploring forgiveness. It is not clear which of the other figures that appear in the painting is the brother who does not forgive.
10. Jacob blessing the Sons of Joseph. 1656. Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel of Germany.
This painting shows Joseph, the beloved son of Jacob, taking his sons Ephraim and Manasseh to his father to give them his blessing. But unlike the biblical story in which Jacob is blessing Ephraim and Manasseh simultaneously, he is blessing here only Ephraim, the youngest. Rembrandt also added Asenath, Joseph’s wife and mother of his children, who were not present in the biblical account.