Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15 - Rembrandt van Rijn

Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn was born on July 15, 1606, in Leiden, Dutch Republic, where he received early education before apprenticing in painting at his own request. At age 20 he began working on etchings, which he endowed with unique, painterly qualities through exceptional use of light and dark. His paintings encompassed portraits of his contemporaries, illustrations of Biblical scenes, and a lifelong series of self-portraits. Many of his works left huge areas in shadow, creating vibrant spots of illumination against great darkness. He lived beyond his means and often bid up the price of his own works. One of Rembrandt’s final works, the massive “Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq” (1642), became known erroneously as “The Night Watch” (pictured) after it had been darkened under many layers of varnish. The tumultuous, 13’x16’ commission shows a group of Dutch civic guardsmen emerging from a dark courtyard in a dazzling blaze of light, color and motion. It marked the height of “Dutch Golden Age” painting.

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