ART 4 2-DAY 04 October v.10.00
on 04 October 1688: Philips de Koninck (or
Koningh) Dutch painter born on 05 November 1619.
Philips Koninck is the best-known member of a family of artists. He studied under his brother Jacob [1615 – >1690] in Rotterdam, and he was also a student of Rembrandt in Amsterdam, where he settled in 1641. Although he painted various subjects (the poet Vondel praised his portraits and history pictures) his fame now rests on his landscapes. He specialized in extensive views, and his work has a majesty and power that rivals the similar scenes of Ruisdael; the National Gallery in London has four outstanding examples. Like many Dutch painters he had a second occupation; he ran a prosperous shipping firm and evidently painted little in the last decade of his life. His wealth enabled him to collect drawings. He was a prolific draftsman himself and his sketchy penmanship can be deceptively close to Rembrandt's.
Among his contemporaries, Philips Köninck (also Coning, Coningh, Coningh, Koning, Konnink) was known as a figure painter, specializing in portraits, genre and religious scenes. But nowadays he is known and praised as a landscape-painter. Philips was born in Amsterdam, the son of a successful goldsmith, and trained in the studio of his brother Jacob, a painter, who taught him from 1639 to 1641 in Rotterdam. Subsequently he returned to Amsterdam, where he lived for the rest of his life. Köninck was a wealthy man, owning a company, which operated horse-drawn passenger barges between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. He seems to have been a friend rather than a student of Rembrandt but he was certainly influenced by the great master in his manner of rendering biblical subjects.
Köninck’s landscapes are characterized by a high viewpoint and a sky, which occupies at least half of the picture space. They are cloudscapes as much as extensive landscapes. Wide stretches of flat or slightly hilly land under a great expanse of sky are the realistic view of Holland. Waterways and paths intersect the land; houses are dotted in the foreground. These landscapes were mostly carried out in warm, brown-yellow tones. The landscape with a high sky was particularly in favor in the 1650s and 1660s, not only in the work of Köninck, but also in that of Jacob Isaackszoon van Ruisdael [1628 — 10 Mar 1692] and also in the etched landscapes of Rembrandt van Rijn [15 Jul 1606 – 04 Oct 1669].
Distant View with Cottages Lining a Road (1655)
Wide River Landscape
Distant view in Gelderland (1655)
Adoration by the Magi
Panoramic landscape (1665)
Plain in Holland (1670)
The baptism of the Chamberlain
Dutch Landscape Viewed from the Dunes (1664, 122x165cm) If Koninck's development had stopped in the middle of the seventeenth century, he would be remembered as a talented Rembrandt follower. But from about 1649-1650 until about 1665 he created a series of very large panoramic views in a distinctive personal style. They are closely related to the classical phase of Dutch landscape painting and are amongst the great glories of Dutch art.
An Extensive Landscape with a Hawking Party (132x160cm) The human figures on the painting were done by J. Lingelbach.
Panorama View of Dunes and a River (1664, 94x120cm) _ Philips Koninck was a member of Rembrandt's entourage. His drawings and early painted landscapes show that he learned from Rembrandt. However, by the middle of the century he began to paint large panoramic views that are independent of the master's style. They rank with the most grandiose of the age. Where Molenaer and Houckgeest more or less assumed a specific viewing position outside the pictorial space, and Saenredam's perspective suggests looking from within it, many landscape painters positioned the beholder in undefined or even impossibly high positions. Koninck often suggested such a bird's-eye view in his sweeping panoramas of Dutch fields and rivers beneath imposing skies. The absence of one fixed viewpoint implies that the viewer is seeing an objective record of a city or landscape, recorded without human intervention. It has been suggested that, by positing such a freely surveying eye, these landscapes resemble the exquisite maps produced in great variety and quantity in the Dutch Republic. The maps depicted in genre scenes, hung on walls like paintings, indeed indicate that seventeenth-century viewers did not make the modern distinction between paintings as "art" and maps as "knowledge."
An Extensive Landscape with a Road by a Ruin (1655, 137x167cm) _ Among his contemporaries, Philips Koninck was known as a figure painter, specializing in portraits as well as in genre and religious scenes, rather than as a landscapist as he is known today. He was born in Amsterdam, the son of a successful goldsmith, and trained in the studio of his brother, Jacob, who worked in Rotterdam. Subsequently he returned to Amsterdam, where he lived for the rest of his life. Koninck was a wealthy man, owning a company which operated trekschuiten (horse-drawn passenger barges) between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. He seems to have been a friend rather than a student of Rembrandt but he was certainly influenced by him in his manner of painting(and drawing) biblical subjects. Koninck's landscapes are characterized by a high viewpoint and a sky which occupies at least half of the picture space. They are cloudscapes as much as extensive landscapes. He emphasizes the flatness of Holland, a more realistic approach than, for example, that of Aelbert Cuyp, who attempts to make his landscapes more varied by the inclusion of hills and mountains taken from his imagination rather than from his observation of the Dutch countryside. The landscape with a high sky was particularly in favor in the 1650s and 1660s, not just in the work of Koninck, but also in that of Jacob van Ruisdael and also in the etched landscapes of Rembrandt. This painting of 1655 is an outstanding example of Koninck's landscape art. The colors, which in some of his canvases have sunk into uniform browns and greys with the passage of time, are particularly vivid and the painting is remarkably well preserved.
Village on a Hill (1651, 61x83cm) _ Koninck is one of the last generation of Dutch landscape painters. In the 1660s, there was a general tendency to "upgrade" the various genres. During this period, the interiors of Vermeer and de Hooch became increasingly elegant, and even the still-lifes were freighted with "noblesse". In the work of Koninck, this trend even affected the landscapes, in which he positioned courtly figures and palatial architecture. In the 1650s, by contrast, when Koninck was at the height of his creative powers, he produced landscapes of exceptional purity, bringing the flat panoramic landscape to its greatest perfection. A soft and golden light is cast across the flat countryside, illuminating things that are, in themselves, uninteresting: sandy dunes, the occasional tree, some water, a village. There is nothing remarkable or jarring. The sensation is where the brown earth is bathed in sunlight to a golden hue. Koninck was influenced by Rembrandt's landscape painting, which represents a chapter in its own right within his enormous oeuvre. Rembrandt's influence is evident in the golden-brown tone of his paintings and in the way Koninck occasionally integrates unexpected and fantastic objects such as a glittering bridge spanning the water, a ruin or a fairy-tale castle.
on 04 October 1669:
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, the great Dutch master, born on 15 July 1606.
His humble origins may help account for the uncommon depth of compassion given to all the subjects of his paintings. Rembrandt prospered when he moved to Amsterdam, but fell out of favor in his later years. However, economic and personal miseries never affected his mastery in many mediums. (some 300 etchings, 1400 drawings, 600 paintings, including, among the most famous: The Night Watch [small detail of it here >], Man with a Magnifying Glass, The Anatomy Lesson of Professor Tulp, Descent from the Cross, The Abduction of Ganymede)
Rembrandt devient l'un des plus grands peintres de tous les temps. Son imagination et sa maîtrise force l'admiration. Après des études solides et des voyages initiatiques en Italie et en France,il se fixe à Amsterdam vers 1631 où il ouvre un atelier. Il connaîtra vite le succès et s’affirmera comme un grand maître de la peinture. Portraitiste de grand talent, il s’affirme par une science étonnante du Clair~Obscur et un souci humaniste qui dépasse le cadre étroit des peintures commerciales. La Ronde de nuit [détail: image ci~dessus], Le Reniement de Saint-Pierre Le Syndic des Drapiers La Fiancée Juive le Souper d’Emmaus, ne sont que quelques-uns des centaines de chefs d’oeuvre que l’on visite dans les grands musées. Mais son art ne se limite pas à la peinture, il a laissé de nombreux dessins, dont certains sont des esquisses de peinture mais d’autres des dessins à part entière. Graveur génial c’est aussi un aquafortiste éminent, ("Jésus prêchant", "La pièce de cent florins"). Rembrandt devait pauvre et ignoré. Mais son génie fut finalement reconnu.
Rembrandt began his training first under the obscure painter Jacob van Swanenburgh and then as an apprentice in the Amsterdam studio of Pieter Lastman, who instilled in the younger artist a lifelong preference for history painting. Returning briefly to Leiden, Rembrandt worked there in association with Jan Lievens before moving permanently to Amsterdam in late 1631, where he quickly established his reputation as a portraitist.
The 1630s was a particularly prosperous decade, during which Rembrandt married Saskia van Uylenburgh, the wealthy niece of the art dealer Hendrick Uylenburgh. While always returning to the human figure as his primary subject, during the 1640s Rembrandt explored the formal properties and emotional potential of the landscape genre. At this time he also experimented with etching, a graphic medium he frequently used in combination with drypoint to achieve a richness of effect.
In general, the decade of the 1640s was marked by reversals of both a personal and a professional nature, most notably Saskia's death in 1642, which had been preceded by the deaths of all but one of their four children. At this time Rembrandt developed a broader manner of execution realized in a darker palette, which became more exaggerated in later years. This quality made his portraits less popular with clients who sought precisely rendered detail of face and costume. However, the style was well suited to the introspective portraits and biblical subjects that fascinated him. Rembrandt continued to receive important commissions including the fabled Night Watch of 1642 and the rejected Conspiracy of the Batavians, commissioned in 1661 for the Amsterdam Town Hall. He also worked for wealthy private patrons, such as Jan Six and Antonio Ruffo of Sicily. A genius of extraordinary technical talent and perception, Rembrandt influenced a large number of students and followers.
— Self Portrait at an Early Age (1628, 23x19cm) _ Rembrandt was twenty-two years old when he painted this portrait. It is a striking experiment in light and shade. His face is almost invisible. He has represented himself entirely in raking light. This small panel is one of Rembrandt's earliest self portraits. The light in the painting is coming from a strong source on the left, beyond the edge of the painting. It falls across part of his neck, his cheek and his untidy hair, reflecting upon his nose and brushes along his lips and the tip of his chin. A heavy shadow falls across the rest of his face. Rembrandt painted this self portrait to study the effect of chiaroscuro.
Here and there Rembrandt has indicated points of light using white lead highlights in the collar and the tip of the nose for instance. Two small strokes of white can even be discovered in the darkest part of the painting: along the cheek and on the shoulder. These come from the reflection of the light off the wall behind him. He has treated the light hairs in his curls differently by scratching them into the wet paint, revealing the lighter color of the ground. It is interesting to note how the light is reflected in the different surfaces. The background, a plastered wall, is not an even gray but full of white and copper-colored marks.
This is one of Rembrandt's earliest self portraits. He went on to portray himself in more than eighty paintings, etchings, and drawings. A few self portraits were commissioned, but most he made for himself as studies. Many of these self portraits are studies of different moods: surprise, joy, or sadness. Sometimes he portrayed himself as someone else, for instance a nobleman or a biblical character, Saint Paul for example. Through these portraits Rembrandt has become the most famous and recognizable Dutchman of the seventeenth century.
When Rembrandt painted this portrait, he was living in Leiden. At this time he had had a studio there for three years. He worked a lot with another young painter Jan Lievens, often painting from the same model. They attracted the attention of an influential man, Constantijn Huygens, secretary to the Prince of Orange. Huygens, who was also a poet and interested in painting, had visited the young men in their studio in about 1628, praising in his diary Lievens and Rembrandt:
Wanneer ik beweer, dat zij alleen hen evenaren, die ik onder zoveel beroemde stervelingen als wondermensen heb aangewezen, blijf ik nog beneden hunne verdienste, als ik zeg, dat zij hen binnen korte tijd zullen overtreffen voeg ik niets toe aan de verwachting, die alle kenners van hen koesteren na zulk een bewonderenswaardig begin.
(Were I to contend that of all the famous mortals I have met they are the equals of the most miraculously gifted, I would still not have done them justice, and were I to suggest that they would soon surpass them, I would be adding little to the expectations the experts already nurture following this admirable start.)
He was full of praise for the 'noble pair'.
Huygens also compared Lievens with Rembrandt. He praised Lievens for his great and daring paintings, and Rembrandt for his 'taste and true-to-life sensibility'. He also thought that Rembrandt managed to achieve strong effects in small paintings. Lievens's Portrait of Rembrandt (1628, 57x45cm) is at least twice as large as Rembrandt's self portrait. It is loosely painted and general, but far less surprising and original than Rembrandt's small panel.
Lievens painted the Portret van Constantijn Huygens (1627)
— Self Portrait with a Cap, openmouthed (1630)
— Self Portrait (1628)
— Self Portrait, Frowning (1630)
— Rembrandt drawing at a window (1648)
— Self Portrait as the Apostle Saint Paul (1661, 91x77cm) _ Rembrandt made this self portrait when he was fifty-five years old. On the left, beside his shoulder, he has signed his name and the year in which he made the painting: 1661. Rembrandt pictured himself in a total of about eighty paintings, etchings and drawings. He made most of these for himself as study material: to study a facial expression or to try out contrasts between light and shade. Sometimes he used himself as a model representing someone else, as is the case here.
Saint Paul was born Saul in Tarsus, now in Turkey, of Jewish parents. Rembrandt indicates his Eastern origins by picturing a turban. At first, Saul was a fanatical persecutor of Christians. But on the road to Damascus Christ appeared to him (a scene represented in many paintings) and he was converted. He founded many Christian communities to whom he constantly wrote. In the painting he is holding a number of these letters in his hand. The letters EFESIS can just be made out on the upper page. This is his letter to the Ephesians.
Rembrandt has once again pictured himself in a dark room. His head is brightly lit, as though a strong light is beaming down on him from the upper left. A shining object protrudes from under his robe, just catching the light. The object is the hilt of a sword. Saint Paul is always portrayed with a sword. It symbolises the period that he fought Christianity. The sword also refers to the fate that awaited Paul: on 29 June 64 he was beheaded in Rome for his Christian faith. Throughout the green-gray background, Rembrandt has applied tiny points and strokes of bright yellow and pink. In other paintings, for example the 1628 self portrait, he often enlivened the backgrounds with similar colorful marks.
Rembrandt has built up this painting, layer by layer, on top of a dark ground. The paint has been applied thinly in the dark areas, such as his coat and the shadows in his face. In areas that are fully lit, the paint is thick and loose. The way the turban has been painted is characteristic of Rembrandt. He molded the folds in the turban, as it were, in the paint. Using a hard brush, he smeared the viscous paint from left to right.
–- The Prophetess Hannah (1631, 60x48cm) _ The old woman reading in such a thoughtful manner is Saint Anna the Prophetess. According to Luke 2:34-38 she was present when Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus to the Temple. Saint Anna immediately recognised Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.:
And Simeon blessed them and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign .... And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all of them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Rembrandt shows Anna deeply absorbed in studying the Bible . The light comes from behind her, touching on her Oriental-looking headdress stitched with gold thread and her red velvet cloak and shining directly on the Bible and her hand pointing to the Hebrew letters. Rembrandt painted this old woman's hand with great care, with its thin wrinkled skin and clearly visible veins. Anna's face, however, is hidden in shadow.
It has been suggested that Rembrandt took his mother, Neeltje Willemsdochter van Zuydtbroeck, as his model for the prophetess. She was 60 years old in 1631 when this picture was painted. There is however no special reason to suppose that it is her. Rembrandt and his students often painted old women who were alleged to have been Rembrandt's mother, for example the Old Woman Reading a Lectionary (1630) of Gerard Dou.
–- Haesje van Cleyburgh (1634, 68x53cm) _ Haesje van Cleyburgh was fifty-one years old when Rembrandt painted her portrait. In this picture her face is the center of attention and, like her linen cap and pleated ruff, is particularly finely painted. This contrasts strongly with her black clothes and the background which are more loosely painted. When he painted Haesje, Rembrandt had been living in Amsterdam for a couple of years. During this time he had become one of the most important portrait painters.
Rembrandt painted Haesje true to life. Details of her appearance have been precisely recorded, such as the bags under her eyes, the moisture on her lower lid and shiny points on her nose. Even the reflection of the light off the white ruff under her chin has not been forgotten: here Rembrandt has applied touches of lead white.
Rembrandt also painted the portrait of Haesje's husband, the wealthy Rotterdam brewer Dirck Janszoon Pesser. Haesje and her husband were member of the Remonstrant sect, which was expelled from the Dutch Reformed Church as a heretic group in the early 17th century. Many of Rembrandt's clients belonged to this religious group. In 1633 he painted the portrait of the Remonstrant preacher Johannes Uyttenbogaert. It is possible that the Amsterdam Remonstrants recommended Rembrandt to Haesje and Dirck to paint their portraits.
–- Doctor Ephraim Bueno, Jewish Physician and Writer (1647, 19x15cm) _ Doctor Ephraim Bueno [1599-1665], was a well-known Jewish physician and man of letters. Rembrandt painted this sketch in oils as a preliminary study for an etching of Doctor Bueno. It is the only known sketch in oils for a portrait print by Rembrandt.
–- Familiegroep in Landschap
–- Christ and the Two Disciples at Emmaus
–- “The Night Watch” official title: The Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch (1642, 363x437cm; 1333x1600pix, 224kb _ ZOOM to 2000x2400pix, 262kb) _ The picture is a militia painting: a group portrait of a division of the civic guard. Rembrandt depicted the group of militiamen in an original way. He did not paint them in neat row or sitting at their annual banquet, rather, he recorded a moment: a group of militiamen have just moved into action and are about to march off. The names of the eighteen militiamen portrayed in the painting are on a shield above the gate. A company comprised more members, but only those who paid were included in the group portrait. The drummer was hired and was therefore allowed to be in the painting for free. Rembrandt added the others to enliven the painting. Three people on the left of the picture disappeared in the eighteenth century when part of the canvas was cut off. We are now only able to match a few names to the faces in the portrait. The contrasts between light and shade in the painting enhance the feeling of action and movement. Rembrandt has used the fall of the light to focus attention on the most important figures: the captain and the lieutenant.
The militiamen in The Night Watch are called Arquebusiers after the arquebus, a sixteenth-century long-barrelled gun. Rembrandt worked the traditional emblem of the Arquebusiers into the painting in a natural way: the girl in the foreground is carrying the main symbols. She is a kind of mascot in herself: the claws of the chicken (1) on her belt represent the 'Clauweniers'- Arquebusiers; the pistol (2) behind the chicken stands for 'clover'; moreover, she is holding the militia's goblet (3). The man in front of her is wearing a helmet with an oak leaf - a traditional motif of the Arquebusiers. Another subtle detail reveals these to be Amsterdam Arquebusiers: the three crosses of the Amsterdam coat of arms can be seen in the lapel of the lieutenant's jacket.
In sixteenth-century militia paintings, the guardsmen are usually depicted in rows or sometimes seated around a table. In 1588, Cornelis Ketel painted the first group of militiamen full-length. Nicolaes Eliaszoon, a contemporary of Rembrandt's, combined seated and standing militiamen on a single canvas. In Rembrandt's Night Watch, the militiamen are milling around. They are talking and holding their weapons. Already on the move, Captain Banning Cocq is issuing orders to his lieutenant, Van Ruytenburch, for the company to march. It looks like a snapshot of a group in action rather than a posed portrait. This is what makes the Night Watch so radically different from other militia paintings.
Rembrandt was a master at depicting different materials. He used highly diverse ways of painting for different parts of the picture: sometimes with great precision, other times using rough brushstrokes; sometimes painting smoothly and sometimes using thick daubs of paint. Rembrandt often sacrificed accuracy for liveliness.
The Night Watch is composed in this way:
_ the architecture in the foreground is more or less symmetrical
_ a number of militiamen are also symmetrically positioned
_ the captain and the lieutenant are standing just to the right of center
_ this asymmetry brings tension to the picture: the eye draws both the men a little to the left, in the direction they are walking - this enhances the feeling of movement
_ the lines of a number of pole arms are equidistant: they connect the center of the composition with the space outside the painting.
The hand of Banning Cocq and Van Ruytenburch's partisan appear to literally come out of the painting. This type of foreshortening is extremely difficult to paint. Rembrandt dealt brilliantly with this obstacle. The captain's hand is almost tangible. However, Rembrandt had more problems with Van Ruytenburch's gun. This is now clear from X-rays of the painting. The partisan was far too large in Rembrandt's first version and had to be corrected a number of times. Rembrandt usually painted directly onto the canvas without preparatory sketches. A good example of this method is his portrait of the Sampling Officials (1662).
Rembrandt showed a few of the musketeers in action: before, during and after firing. For the details of the action he probably consulted the engravings in Wapenhandelinghe (1608), a drill manual by Jacques de Gheyn.
The militiamen can be recognized from their weapons and attributes. The ensign holds the standard. Lieutenants usually hold a partisan, a weapon with a shaft of some three to four meters and a long flat iron blade, culminating in a broad point. At the base of the blade are tiny hooks. Partisans were employed as weapons in battle from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. By the 17th century it had become the lieutenant's symbol in the Dutch militias. Sergeants are traditionally armed with a halberd, a versatile weapon consisting of a long wooden shaft (measuring more than two meters) topped by a spearhead, with a blade and a pick on either side. In battle it was used for cleaving and thrusting, while the pick was used to unhorse cavalry. Halberds were borne by foot soldiers from the Middles Ages to the 16th century. They were later replaced by the pike and subsequently only borne by sergeants, generally as a sign of rank. Some kings maintained a special guard of halberdiers. The word 'halberd' derives from the German words 'Hahn' (pole) and 'Barte' (axe). The captain's walking stick also often appears in militia paintings. The captain can be recognized from the gesture he is making with his left hand. A similar gesture appeared in the first militia painting A Group of Guardsmen (1529) by Dirck Jacobszoon and can be found in many of the later group portraits, for example The Company of Captain Allaert Cloeck and Lieutenant Lucas Jacobsz. Rotgans, Amsterdam, 1632 by Thomas de Keyser.
Although the militiamen in The Night Watch may appear to be positioned at random, Rembrandt has constructed the composition with great care. The drawing shows the positions and movement of the figures through the space, seen from above. The militiamen are coming out of the gate and moving towards us. The captain and the lieutenant form the vanguard, with two men directly in their wake. The man who is shooting is behind the captain and the two girls are walking from left to right, crossing the line of movement of the militiamen.
The Night Watch was made for the Great Hall of the Arquebusiers, where it hung until 1715. The building was extended in 1638 with the financial support of the municipal authorities. The militia commissioned seven group portraits for the 'Groote Zaal', or Great Hall, on the first floor. This was four meters high and the militia paintings were larger than was usual for this kind of painting. The paintings decorated three walls; there were windows in the fourth wall. The Night Watch hung on the long wall beside canvases by Jacob Backer and Nicolaes Eliaszoon. The other paintings were by Flinck, Von Sandrart and Van der Helst. It is not certain where Rembrandt painted the large canvas. Perhaps he worked under a lean-to in the garden of his house on Jodenbreestraat.
In 1715 The Night Watch was moved to the town hall on Dam Square. Because the painting was too large for the wall there, it was cut on all sides. A particularly large piece was cut off the left side. Unfortunately none of these pieces was kept. A seventeenth-century copy by Gerrit Lundens shows how the painting originally looked.
–- Maria Trip (1639, 107x82cm) _ The beautifully dressed young woman was the daughter of a rich Amsterdam merchant. Rembrandt was at this time one of the most important portrait painters in Amsterdam. Maria was twenty years old and still unmarried. Two years later she married Balthasar Coymans who had gathered a fortune in business. He was thirty years older than Maria.
We can see from Maria's beautiful, fashionable clothes that she came from a wealthy family. Her collar consists of three layers and her cuffs are decorated with broad strips of bobbin lace. These strips and the rosettes on her dress are made from expensive gold lace Gold lace. The fine white linen of her blouse bulges out through the slit in her wide sleeves. Her jewelry also demonstrates her wealth: a string of large pearls around her neck, four rows of pearls on her wrists, a splendid brooch on her chest and matching earrings. Maria's hair is styled in the latest fashion: shoulder-length and loosely combed outwards. Her hair is tied in a bun on the back of her head which is also decorated with glittering jewels.
Rembrandt has made the most of Maria's rich clothes and jewelry by playing with the light and shade. A small light dances in each pearl. Even the thick folds of her black clothes shine with the light. The gossamer-fine linen is brilliantly depicted: the black fabric of the dress on her shoulders and the skin tones of her chest, glimmer through the white. She is holding a folded fan with a ribbon of gold lace that falls across her hand. Throughout the painting, Rembrandt has added subtle edges of shadow: in the sleeves, along the collar and on her hand.
Rembrandt has chosen a decorated doorway as the backdrop for this portrait of Maria Trip, rather than the usual gray wall. The left doorjamb, which is just visible, is decorated with a herm, a tapering column with a nude male torso at the top. Maria is leaning with one hand lightly resting on a richly ornamented fence.
The Trip family was exceedingly rich and were held in great esteem in Amsterdam. Maria's father, Elias Trip [1570-1631], owned iron-ore mines and weapons factories and had also earned a fortune on the money market. When this portrait was painted in 1639, Maria lived with her mother in a splendid house on Amsterdam's smartest canal, Herengracht 54. She later moved to the Gilded Lily at Herengracht 40 with her husband, Balthasar Coymans. The Trips and their relatives often had their portraits painted. In 1639, Rembrandt also painted Maria's mother, Aleid Adriaensdochter [1591-1656]. Bartholomeus van der Helst painted Maria's brother, Jacobus Trip [1627-1670] in 1650.
–- Lamentation of the Prophet Jeremias Over Jerusalem (1630, 58x46cm) _ Seated at the base of a large column, the prophet Jeremiah mourns the destruction of Jerusalem. It was an event he had prophesied but was powerless to prevent. Jeremiah had warned King Zedekiah repeatedly that he should submit to the King of Babylon, otherwise Jerusalem would be destroyed. His predictions are incorporated in various places in the Bible, including in Jeremiah 34:1-2:
Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Go and speak to Zedekiah, the king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will give this city unto the hand of the king of Babylon and he shall burn it with fire.
The light falls almost exclusively on the old man and his immediate surroundings. His bushy beard, wrinkled forehead and fur-lined cloak are depicted with great precision. Away from the light, on the left in the background, the fall of Jerusalem is shown. The Babylonian troops of King Nebuchadnezzar II are marching into the city and putting it to the torch. These events occurred in the year 586 BC. Zedekiah, King of Judah, is standing outside the city, his head in his hands. Nebuchadnezzar ordered his eyes to be gouged out.
The fall of Jerusalem is described in different places in the Bible, including Jeremiah 39:1-7:
In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it. And in the 11th year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, the city was broken up. And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in .... Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah [...] before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.
–- Musical Allegory (1626, 64x48cm) _ Led by a young woman, a group of people are playing music in a room. She is reading the music from the sheet, singing and beating time. The two men are accompanying her on their instruments, the young man on the harp and the older man on a viola da gamba. An older woman is reading over the girl's shoulder, listening attentively with her hand on her chin. In the foreground is a violin, a lute and a pile of books. This is an early work by Rembrandt from 1626. He made it when he was twenty years old and signed it with the monogram RH: Rembrandt Harmenszoon. The painting was only discovered to be by Rembrandt in 1936. Two vertical halves make up this panel; the joint can be clearly seen in the center.
This is hardly just an ordinary group of musicians. The figures are too exotically dressed in oriental attire and extravagant head-dresses. Much can be said about the significance of this mysterious scene. Some see the work, with its many books, musical instruments and other valuables, as an allegory of transience. Others link it to passages from the Bible. The painting on the wall shows Lot and his daughters fleeing from Sodom. This story of impurity, together with the wine on the table and the music, could refer to Ephesians 5:18-19:
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
According to the interpretation the text not only explains the singing and music-making; it also accounts for the painting on the wall, shows Lot and his daughters fleeing from Sodom about to be destroyed because of its sexual sinfulness. Later Lot's daughters made their father drunk and then had sex with him. The message of the painting would therefore be to warn against lewdness and strong drink and an admonition to honor God with songs and music. However, this interpretation is disputed.
Of course, this painting may also be a reference to love. Music was often linked to love in the seventeenth century. This is connected to the harmony that is central in both music and (marital) love, but also to the seductive powers of music. Musical instruments also appear as symbols of love in other seventeenth-century paintings, for example The Serenade (1629) by Judith Leyster, and The Love Letter (1670) by Vermeer.
This painting shows that Rembrandt was already a skilled painter at a young age. The rendering of the textures of wood, paper and fabric is extremely refined. The paint has been applied quite thinly in some places and thicker in others. The page of the blue book, for instance, has been rendered in a single, rough brushstroke, creating a wonderful contrast with the smoothly painted lute. Like his master, Pieter Lastman, Rembrandt also used relatively bright colors in this early work, for example, the red of the shoes and the green of the tablecloth. The artist was already playing with contrasts between light and shade: bright light areas and deep shadows. This chiaroscuro later became his specialty and trademark.
The old woman is realistically portrayed. Rembrandt has been almost merciless in his depiction of the wrinkles and lines in her face. The artist often painted older women in his pictures and some of the women look remarkably like one another. For instance, compare this woman (according to some she is a matchmaker) with Anna in the painting of Tobit and Anna. It is often claimed that Rembrandt used his own mother as a model, although this is highly debatable.
–- Het Joodse Bruidje
Arnold Tholinx (1652)
— Beggars at the Door (1648)
— Christ Presented to the People (1655)
— Cone Shell (Conus marmoreus) (1650)
— Dead peacocks (1639)
— Dr. Ephraim Bueno, Jewish Physician and Writer (1647)
— Faust (1652)
— Hendrickje slapend (1655)
— Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem (1630)
— Haesje van Cleyburgh (1634)
— Johannes Wtenbogaert, Remonstrant Minister (1633)
— Maria Trip
— Saskia van Uylenburgh (1633, 65x48cm) _ Saskia was 20 at the time of this portrait and had just become engaged to Rembrandt. They were married a year later. Saskia was the niece of the art dealer Hendrick Uylenburgh, in whose house Rembrandt lived in Amsterdam. Rembrandt had moved to Amsterdam in 1631 where he remained for the rest of his life. From the moment he arrived he received many commissions for portraits, producing more than fifty in the first year alone. The panel, originally rectangular, was later made oval. As a result Saskia is positioned somewhat strangely to the left of center in the painting. Van Rijn signed the painting with his first name, Rembrandt, subsequently his regular signature. It is possible that he was following the Italian example: Raphael and Titian had also become famous using only their first names. This painting is not a true portrait of Saskia, since she is not clothed in normal seventeenth-century dress. She is festively clad in a tiara, a veil and lots of pearls. Fancy-dress was common in Rembrandt's studio. Rembrandt often painted himself and others from his circle in fancy-dress. His students did the same, for example Govert Flinck in his Rembrandt as a Shepherd (1636) .
— Two Figures from the Old Testament (The Jewish Bride) (1667)
— Willem Bartholszoon Ruyter (1638)
— Six's Bridge (1645)
— Saint Jerome Reading in an Italian Landscape (1653)
— The Prophetess Anna (1631, 60x48cm) _ The old woman reading in such a thoughtful manner is Saint Anna the Prophetess, mentioned in Luke 2:34-38:
And Simeon blessed them and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign [...]. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all of them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
Rembrandt shows Anna deeply absorbed in studying the Bible. The light comes from behind her, touching on her Oriental-looking headdress stitched with gold thread and her red velvet cloak and shining directly on the Bible and her hand pointing to the Hebrew letters. Rembrandt painted this old woman's hand with great care, with its thin wrinkled skin and clearly visible veins. Anna's face, however, is hidden in shadow.
It has been suggested that Rembrandt took his mother, Neeltje Willemsdochter van Zuydtbroeck, as his model for the prophetess. She was 60 years old in 1631 when this picture was painted. There is however no special reason to suppose that it is her. Rembrandt and his students often painted old women who were alleged to have been Rembrandt's mother.
— The Sampling Officials (1662)
— The Stone Bridge (1638, 30x43cm) _ Clouds are gathering above a river. A bright flash of light illuminates the landscape. Beneath the threatening clouds a few insignificant figures are finding their way. On the left some people are climbing out of a wagon to seek refuge in the tavern, while in the foreground a boat is punted towards the river bank. On the left of the bridge, a man is plodding along in spite of the imminent storm. The light shines on his back. Although Rembrandt often went out into the landscape to draw, he painted very few landscapes. Those he did paint were usually mountainous, imaginary landscapes in the style of Hercules Segers. This dramatic Dutch landscape with a strong use of chiaroscuro is therefore unique in Rembrandt's oeuvre. Although this landscape seems typically Dutch, it is probably more fantasy than reality. In Rembrandt's day there were no stone bridges like this in the area around Amsterdam. Rembrandt was probably inspired by Skaters on a River (1616 etching) of Jan van de Velde II [1593 – Nov 1641] in which exactly the same bridge is depicted. Because Rembrandt painted so few landscapes, it was difficult to date this painting. A dendrochronological examination showed the tree from which the panel was made to have been felled in 1635 at the earliest. Hence the dating of the painting. It is possible that Rembrandt intended to depict the 'pilgrimage of life' in this small painting. The painted figures would in that case represent various attitudes towards life: the people getting out of the wagon near the tavern choose comfort and amusement. The passengers in the boat are aimlessly floating around. Only the one man, in the light, sticks rigidly to the 'right path'. Although this kind of deeper meaning was not uncommon in the seventeenth century, Rembrandt's supposedly serious intentions with this painting cannot be definitely established.
— The Three Crosses (1653)
— Three Women and a Child at the Door (1645)
— Titus van Rijn in a Friar's Habit (1660, 80x68cm) _ The Franciscan habit offered Rembrandt the opportunity to show his skills in the painting of brown tones. He depicted every possible nuance of brown, both in the deep shadows and light areas, so that the thick woollen material almost becomes tangible. In the background, Rembrandt has loosely painted a bush and a wall. Titus's thin face is separated from the background by the brown hood. This concentrates attention on his downcast eyes and his introspective gaze. Titus was not a friar; he probably served here as a model for Saint Francis of Assisi. Titus is nineteen years old here: a pale, delicate boy. His mother was Saskia Uylenburgh. She died young, when Titus was only a year old. Titus, like his mother, probably suffered from tuberculosis, which is why he often looks so fragile in Rembrandt's paintings and drawings of him. Titus died when he was twenty-seven. Rembrandt often used members of his family, and himself, as models for historical, biblical or mythological characters. He painted his mother (perhaps) as the prophetess Anna and himself as Saint Paul. It seems a little strange that Rembrandt should portray his son as a Catholic saint. Rembrandt was a Protestant after all. However, Saint Francis was a popular saint even in the Calvinist Netherlands. His self-imposed poverty and self-sacrifice appealed to the Protestant mentality.
— Tobit and Anna with a Kid (1626, 40x30cm) _ A blind old man folds his hands in prayer while his wife looks at him bewildered. The kid is not a child, but a young goat. This is an episode from the biblical story of Anna and Tobit. Rembrandt painted this small, colorful panel when he was still at the beginning of his painting career. He has signed it in the lower left with his monogram. The letters and numbers look as though they have been carved into the floor.
The old man Tobit was and wealthy and religious man. However, his trust in God was put to the test when he became blind and bankrupt. As Tobit tells it:
At that time my wife Anna worked for hire at weaving cloth, the kind of work women do. When she sent back the goods to their owners, they would pay her. Late in winter she finished the cloth and sent it back to the owners. They paid her the full salary, and also gave her a young goat for the table. On entering my house the goat began to bleat. I called to my wife and said: “Where did this goat come from? Perhaps it was stolen! Give it back to its owners; we have no right to eat stolen food!” But she said to me, “It was given to me as a bonus over and above my wages.” Yet I would not believe her, and told her to give it back to its owners. I became very angry with her over this. So she retorted: “Where are your charitable deeds now? Where are your virtuous acts? See! Your true character is finally showing itself!”
Grief-stricken in spirit, I groaned and wept aloud. Then with sobs I began to pray: “You are righteous, O Lord, and all your deeds are just; All your ways are mercy and truth; you are the judge of the world. And now, O Lord, may you be mindful of me, and look with favor upon me. Punish me not for my sins, nor for my inadvertent offenses, nor for those of my fathers. They sinned against you, and disobeyed your commandments. So you handed us over to plundering, exile, and death, till we were an object lesson, a byword, a reproach in all the nations among whom you scattered us. Yes, your judgments are many and true in dealing with me as my sins and those of my fathers deserve. For we have not kept your commandments, nor have we trodden the paths of truth before you. So now, deal with me as you please, and command my life breath to be taken from me, that I may go from the face of the earth into dust. It is better for me to die than to live, because I have heard insulting calumnies, and I am overwhelmed with grief. Lord, command me to be delivered from such anguish; let me go to the everlasting abode; Lord, refuse me not. For it is better for me to die than to endure so much misery in life, and to hear these insults!” (Tobit 2:11 - 3:6)
Rembrandt has depicted the story of Tobit and Anna in great detail. We can see from Tobit's clothes that he has seen better times: his expensive, fur-lined coat is full of holes. To show that Anna earned her money by spinning, Rembrandt has placed a spool on the chair between Tobit and Anna. Even things that do not bear a direct relation to the story, such as the basket behind Anna and the string of garlic, have been painted in great detail. This is typical of the way Rembrandt worked at this time. Yet this amount of detail does not distract our attention from the main characters. This is due to the strong contrasts between light and dark. Tobit and Anna are brightly lit while the rest of the painting is in shadow.
Rembrandt used a print by Willem Buytewech as an example for this painting. He copied Tobit and Anna's attitudes as well as the wretched hut with a bird cage and fire. However, Rembrandt chose another moment in the story. In the print, Tobit and Anna are still arguing, whereas Rembrandt has shown the exact moment the story takes an important and surprising turn: Tobit's remorse and Anna's surprise. Rembrandt so often chose the most revealing moment in story that it became his trademark. The most famous example of this is The Night Watch.
— Musical Allegory (1626, 64x48cm ) _ Led by a young woman, a group of people are playing music in a room. She is reading the music from the sheet, singing and beating time. The two men are accompanying her on their instruments - the young man on the harp and the older man on a viola da gamba. An older woman is reading over the girl's shoulder, listening attentively with her hand on her chin. In the foreground is a violin, a lute and a pile of books. This is an early work by Rembrandt. He made it when he was twenty years old and signed it with the monogram RH: Rembrandt Harmensz. The painting was only 'discovered' to be by Rembrandt in 1936. Two vertical halves make up this panel; the join can be clearly seen in the center.
This is hardly just an ordinary group of musicians. The figures are too exotically dressed in oriental attire and extravagant head-dresses. Much can be said about the significance of this mysterious scene. Some see the work, with its many books, musical instruments and other valuables, as an allegory of transience. Others link it to passages from the Bible. The painting on the wall shows Lot and his daughters fleeing from Sodom. This story of impurity, together with the wine on the table and the music, could refer to a passage in the epistle of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (5:18-19):
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.' According to the interpretation the text not only explains the singing and music-making; it also accounts for the painting on the wall. In the biblical story, Lot's daughters first made their father drunk and then seduced him to lie with them (unchastity). The message of the painting would therefore be to warn against lewdness and strong drink and an admonition to honor God with songs and music.
However, this interpretation is disputed.
Of course, this painting may also be a reference to love. Music was often linked to love in the seventeenth century. This is connected to the harmony that is central in both music and (marital) love, but also to the seductive powers of music. Musical instruments also appear as symbols of love in other seventeenth-century paintings, such as Serenade by Judith Leyster and Love Letter by Vermeer.
This painting shows that Rembrandt was already a skilled painter at a young age. The rendering of the textures is extremely refined. The paint has been applied quite thinly in some places and thicker in others. The page of the blue book, for instance, has been rendered in a single, rough brushstroke, creating a wonderful contrast with the smoothly painted lute. Like his master, Pieter Lastman [in Orestes and Pylades Disputing at the Altar (1614, 83x126cm), for example] Rembrandt also used relatively bright colors in this early work, for example, the red of the shoes and the green of the tablecloth. The artist was already playing with contrasts between light and shade: bright light areas and deep shadows. This chiaroscuro later became his speciality and trademark.
The old woman is realistically portrayed. Rembrandt has been almost merciless in his depiction of the wrinkles and lines in her face. The artist often painted older women in his pictures and some of the women look remarkably like one another. For instance, compare this woman (according to some she is a matchmaker) with Anna in the painting of Tobit and Anna. It is often claimed that Rembrandt used his own mother as a model, although this is highly debatable.
— Die Judenbraut aka Das Brautpaar (1666; 1831x2536pix, 611kb) better seen cropped of worthless background and enlarged as:
_ detail (3094x2536pix, 852kb).
— Woman Bathing (1654; 4224x3199pix, 3920kb) _ The model may be Hendrickje Stoffels [1626 – bur.24 July 1663]
— 157 ZOOMable images at Wikimedia
— 224 images at ARC — 205 images at Ciudad de la Pintura
Rembrandt was born in Leiden, the eighth of nine children of Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn and his wife, Neeltje van Suijttbroeck. He was the first and the only of their sons whom they sent to the school for Latin. After seven years’ schooling (1613-1620) Rembrandt entered the Philosophical Faculty of Leiden University to study Classics. A short period at the university finished with starting a period of apprenticeship (1622-1624) under the Italy-trained painter Jacob Isaacszoon van Swanenburgh. However, the succeeding half-year studies under Pieter Lastman, the Amsterdam artist of historical paintings, influenced Rembrandt’s work much deeper.
In 1625 the 19-year-old Rembrandt returned to Leiden and opened his own studio, which he shared with his friend of the same age, Jan Lievens. Rembrandt's first student was Gerard Dou. Rembrandt made historical paintings, initially following Lastman’s models: Tobit and Anna (1626) The Ass of Balaam Talking before the Angel. (1626). His physiognomic studies, resulted in numerous self-portraits: Self-Portrait. (1629) Self-Portrait with Wide-Open Eyes. (1630). During his lifetime Rembrandt made more than 100 self-portraits. He also produced many engravings and etchings.
The turning point in Rembrandt’s further career was the visit to Leiden of Constantijn Huygens, the widely educated secretary of the governor Prince Frederick Hendrick, who developed great interest in Rembrandt and his art. Huygens’ patronage led to commissions and initial success: two works by Rembrandt were purchased by the English Crown and many copies of his painting Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver and the Raising of Lazarus were soon published.
After his father’s death on 27 April 1630, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, where he settled in the house of the art-dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh. Prince Frederick Hendrick bought a number of his paintings and commissioned the Passion cycle, which he would finish in 1639. In 1632, Rembrandt also received the commission to paint a portrait of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, the famous Amsterdam surgeon. Wining acclaim with this work, Rembrandt became a fashionable portraitist in Amsterdam and started to receive many commissions for portraits of well-to-do patricians. One of his favorite themes, the meditating Philosopher, appeared in his work as early as about 1633. The Prophet Jeremiah Mourning over the Destruction of Jerusalem. (1630): Rembrandt has used the blunt end of his brush to scratch details of the foliage, Jeremiah’s beard and the fastenings of his tunic in the wet paint, a characteristic technique of his early years.
In 1634, Rembrandt became a member of the Guild of St. Luke, in order that he may train students and apprentices as a self-employed master. Rembrandt was popular as a teacher and had a very large and profitable workshop with many student followers, including such outstanding painters as Gerard Dou, Aert de Gelder, Carel Fabritius, Philips Konink, Ferdinand Bol, Govert Flinck and Nicolaes Maes.
The same year he married Saskia van Uylenburgh [1612 – Jun 1642], niece of his art-dealer and daughter of a wealthy patrician. Despite their deep devotion and love to each other, their happiness was overshadowed with the deaths of their new-born children and quarrels with Saskia’s relatives, who accused her of squandering money. Of their 4 children only their son Titus Rembrandtzoon van Rijn [bap. 22 Sep 1641 – 04 Sep 1668], survived to adulthood; but he died one year before his father. Titus’ features appear in a number of painting by Rembrandt, such asThe Artist's Son Titus at His Desk. (1655) and Titus. (1658).
As if in plea to let her son live, Saskia died before his first birthday. Her death caused a deep crisis in Rembrandt’s life. During the years of their mutual life Rembrandt created such masterpieces as The Abduction of Ganymede. (1635) The Angel Stopping Abraham from Sacrificing Isaac to God. (1635) The Feast of Belshazzar. (c. 1635) The Blinding of Samson. (1636) Danae. (1636) The Prodigal Son in the Tavern (Rembrandt and Saskia). (1635) The Night Watch (1642) and others. The Night Watch, maybe is the most famous Rembrandt’s work, and his the largest one (363x437cm) was commissioned by a company of the Civil Guard of Amsterdam for its assembly hall. The painting is a “recapitulation of the ideals of Rembrandt’s first ten Amsterdam years, and is the last painting in which he strives for brilliant external effects. From now on he set himself the aim of recreating in visual terms the intangible essence of man, his inner life”. In his last two decades Rembrandt simplified his compositions, preferring more classical and stable structure.
To help the widowed father, two women, Geertge Dircx and, a little later, Hendrickje Stoffels, were admitted in the household. Eventually Geertge caused the artist troubles: at first she repeatedly quarreled with him until at last she brought him to the court (in 1649) on the grounds of an unfulfilled promise of marriage. The second woman, Hendrickje, testified against the plaintiff, and Geertge was sentenced to several years in the prison at Gouda. Hendrickje became Rembrandt’s common-law wife, she sat for many of Rembrandt’s paintings, such as Portrait of Hendrickje Stoffels. (1650) and in 1654 gave birth to their daughter Cornelia.
Despite numerous commissions, the fees from students and the proceeds from etchings, Rembrandt’s debts continued to grow. In 1656, Rembrandt was declared bankrupt. His house and collections were auctioned; however, the sum thereby raised was insufficient to cover the debts. The artist moved into the Roozengracht, where he led a secluded life along with Mennonite and Jewish friends. Titus’ guardian, Louys Crayers, after a long court case, succeeded in having the boy’s part of the inheritance returned to him from his bankrupt father’s estate.
After Rembrandt’s bankruptcy, Hendrickje and Titus (in 1660) set up an art-dealing business in order to provide Rembrandt with protection against his creditors. Despite leading a secluded existence, he maintained many contacts. He continued to keep students, and execute commissions, such as the portrait of the board members of the Amsterdam Cloth makers’ Guild The Syndics of the Clothmakers' Guild (The Staalmeesters) (1662; 543x800pix, kb _ ZOOM to 1358x2000pix, 1434kb); painting of Alexander the Great and a portrait of Homer (1663). He trained Titus as a painter but hardly any trace of his artistic activities survived. After Hendrichje’s death in 1663 Titus continued the art-dealing business. The paintings of Rembrandt’s last years bear the sad imprint of his unhappy old age and disrepute The Return of the Prodigal Son. (1668). The dramatic expressions in his last magnificent series of self-portraits reveal an overwhelming ultimate misery and inner torment Self-Portrait. (1669).
On 28 February 1668, Titus married Magdalena van Loo [1641-1669], but unexpectedly died half a year later. One year, which remained for him to live, Rembrandt spent at the house of his daughter-in-law. He became godfather to his granddaughter on 22 March 1669. He died without having completed the painting Simeon with the Christ Child in the Temple.