The Life of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on July 15, 1606 in Leiden,
the Netherlands. He was the ninth child born to Harmen Gerritszoon van
Rijn and Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuytbrouck.
Rembrandt having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, his later
years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardship. Yet his
drawings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his
reputation as an artist remained high and for twenty years he taught
nearly every important Dutch painter. Rembrandt's greatest creative
triumphs are exemplified especially in his portraits of his
contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the
Bible. The self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in
which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost
In both painting and printmaking he exhibited a complete knowledge of
classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his
own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed
by Rembrandt's knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of
classical composition, and his observations of the Jewish population
of Amsterdam. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has
been called "one of the great prophets of civilization."
'Rembrandt Laughing' is self-portrait
Recently in the news the painting "Rembrandt Laughting" sold for
$4.5 million at an English auction house. William Noortman from
Noortman Master Paintings, specializing in Dutch and Flemish masters,
said it's worth $30 million to $40 million, adding: "I'm very
surprised it didn't make more at auction."
Rembrandt made the self-portrait about 1628, when
he was in his early 20s and still in his hometown, Leiden. Already he
was earning his reputation as an artist, and experimenting with a
mirror and his own face to capture expressions.
The painting previously had been in the hands of an
English family for more than 100 years, according to Moore, Allen and
Innocent. Some had assumed it to be by one of Rembrandt's students or
a Rembrandt imitator.
a 23-page analysis published Friday, Van de Wetering described why
Rembrandt was almost certainly the creator of the little work: Brush
stroke, contour, materials and the monogram all point to the master's
The auction's winner may have suspected the painting was a genuine
Rembrandt from the monogram RHL, painted in a rare style that the
artist only used for about a year. It stands for Rembrandt Harmenszoon
of Leiden. The auction house wrote the signature as "HL" in its
The initials become more compelling proof when considering that they
were painted onto the wet paint of the background, and that the
direction of the brush strokes match another monogram known to be
X-rays reveal a
second painting underneath — its content and composition also
consistent with other Rembrandt works.
It is unclear where the painting had been before
1800, when a Flemish engraver made a reproductive print and attributed
the original to the Dutch painter Frans Hals without realizing the
face in the picture was that of Rembrandt.
Rembrandt Harmenszohn van Rijn, finest of the Dutch
painters and one of the greatest artists of all time, was born in
Leyden, the son of a prosperous miller.