15 July 2006
The Many Faces of Rembrandt van Rijn
Of all the fine-art superstars, only one painted, drew, and etched nearly 100 self-portraits – Rembrandt van Rijn, the Dutch Baroque artist. Was he an obsessed narcissist or just a perfectionist refining his craft? Why he was so prolific at whipping up pictures of himself will remain a mystery, but that won't stop art historians from glamorizing his eccentric achievement. Painting in a "dark manner" called tenebrism and using printmaking techniques known as burnt plate oil, Rembrandt emerges with a stoic stare. He gradually ages from his 20s to the year of his death in 1669. Like many artistic geniuses, the life of tragedy boosts fame, and he had his share of both. Although he didn't slice off an ear or kill himself driving drunk, he reputedly dove into poverty and also witnessed loved ones die from the plague. We crave his reactions to these events in each portrait, but creepy lighting and kooky outfits sometimes steal the show.
Don't take our word for it; judge Rembrandt's work for yourself in commemoration of his 400th birthday.
The Rembrandt House Museum
Rembrandt – Olga's Gallery
Celebrating 400 Years of Rembrandt
Posted by Area of Design