Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (/, /; Dutch: [ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmə(n)soːn vɑn ˈrɛin]; 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutchdraughtsman, painter and printmaker. An outstanding master across three media, he's generally considered one of the greatest artists in the history of art (visual arts in particular) and the most important in Dutch art history. During his prolific and versatile career, Rembrandt produced over 600 paintings, around 400 etchings, and 2,000 drawings, including over 80 self-portraits to his credit, as claimed by connoisseurs of the twentieth century. Unlike most Dutch Masters of the seventeenth century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits, self-portraits, to landscapes, allegorical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age when Dutch Golden Age painting, although in a large number of ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was extremely prolific and innovative, and gave rise to important new genres in painting.
During his lifetime, although Rembrandt never left the Dutch Republic, his artistic vision was considerably influenced by the 16th-century Italian Masters, in particular Caravaggio. Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught a large number of important Dutch painters. Rembrandt's greatest creative triumphs are exemplified most notably in his portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible. His self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity. His reputation as the greatest etcher in the history of the medium was established in his lifetime, and never questioned since. Few of his paintings left the Dutch Republic whilst he lived, but his prints were circulated throughout Europe, and his wider reputation was initially based on them alone. Although better known as a master printmaker (etcher) and painter, Rembrandt is additionally counted among the most respected draftsmen in the history of art. His drawings exhibit an ability to capture the essentials in the simplest of calligraphic strokes reminiscent of East Asia's old ink wash paintings.
In his paintings and prints he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he moulded 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 Amsterdam's Jewish population. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization."
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on 15 July 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic, now the Netherlands. He was the ninth child born to Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn and Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuijtbrouck. His family was quite well-to-do; his father was a miller and his mother was a baker's daughter. Religion is a central theme in Rembrandt's paintings and the religiously fraught period in which he lived makes his faith a matter of interest. His mother was Roman Catholic, and his father belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. While his work reveals deep Christian faith, there's no evidence that Rembrandt formally belonged to any church, although he had five of his children christened in Dutch Reformed churches in Amsterdam: four in the Oude Kerk (Old Church) and one, Titus, in the Zuiderkerk (Southern Church).
As a boy he attended Latin school and was enrolled at the University of Leiden, although according to a contemporary he had a greater inclination towards painting; he was soon apprenticed to a Leiden history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh, with whom he spent three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship of six months with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, Rembrandt stayed a few months with Jacob Pynas and then started his own workshop, though Simon van Leeuwen claimed that Joris van Schooten taught Rembrandt in Leiden. Rembrandt opened a studio in Leiden in 1624 or 1625, which he shared with friend and colleague Jan Lievens. In 1627, Rembrandt began to accept students, among them Gerrit Dou in 1628.
In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by the statesman Constantijn Huygens (father of the Dutch mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens), who procured for Rembrandt important commissions from the court of The Hague. As a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik continued to purchase paintings from Rembrandt until 1646.
At the end of 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam, then rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, and began to practise as a professional portraitist for the first time, with great success. He initially stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, and in 1634, married Hendrick's cousin, Saskia van Uylenburgh. Saskia came from a good family: her father had been a solicitor and the burgemeester (mayor) of Leeuwarden. When Saskia, as the youngest daughter, became an orphan, she lived with an older sister in Het Bildt. Rembrandt and Saskia were married in the local church of St. Annaparochie without the presence of Rembrandt's relatives. In the same year, Rembrandt became a burgess of Amsterdam and a member of the local guild of painters. He additionally acquired a number of students, among them Ferdinand Bol and Govert Flinck.
In 1635 Rembrandt and Saskia moved into their own house, renting in fashionable Nieuwe Doelenstraat. In 1639 they moved to a prominent newly built house (now the Rembrandt House Museum) in the upscale 'Breestraat' (eng.: 'Broadway'), today known as Jodenbreestraat (Jodenbreestraat 4,1011 NK Amsterdam-now) in what was fitting the Jewish quarter; then a young upcoming neighborhood. The mortgage to finance the 13,000 guilder purchase would be a primary cause for later financial difficulties. Rembrandt should easily have been able to pay the house off with his large income, but it appears his spending always kept pace with his income, and he might have made a few unsuccessful investments. It was there that Rembrandt frequently sought his Jewish neighbours to model for his Old Testament scenes. Although they were by now affluent, the couple suffered several personal setbacks; their son Rumbartus died two months after his birth in 1635 and their daughter Cornelia died at just three weeks of age in 1638. In 1640, they had a second daughter, additionally named Cornelia, who died after living barely over a month. Only their fourth child, Titus, who was born in 1641, survived into adulthood. Saskia died in 1642 soon after Titus's birth, probably from tuberculosis. Rembrandt's drawings of her on her sick and death bed are among his most moving works.
During Saskia's illness, Geertje Dircx was hired as Titus' caretaker and nurse and additionally became Rembrandt's lover. She would later charge Rembrandt with breach of promise (a euphemism for seduction under [breached] promise to marry) and was awarded alimony of 200 guilders a year. Rembrandt worked to have her committed for twelve years to an asylum or poorhouse (called a "bridewell") at Gouda, after learning she had pawned jewellery that had once belonged to Saskia and that he had given to her.
In the late 1640s Rembrandt began a relationship with the much younger Hendrickje Stoffels, who had initially been his maid. In 1654 they had a daughter, Cornelia, bringing Hendrickje a summons from the Reformed Church to reply the charge "that she had committed the acts of a whore with Rembrandt the painter". She admitted this and was banned from receiving communion. Rembrandt wasn't summoned to seem for the Church council because he wasn't a member of the Reformed Church. The two were considered legally wed under common law, but Rembrandt hadn't married Hendrickje. Had he remarried he would have lost access to a trust set up for Titus in Saskia's will.
Rembrandt lived beyond his means, buying art (including bidding up his own work), prints (often used in his paintings) and rarities, which probably caused a court arrangement to avoid his bankruptcy in 1656, by selling most of his paintings and large collection of antiquities. The sale list survives and gives us a good insight into Rembrandt's collections, which, apart from Old Master paintings and drawings, included busts of the Roman Emperors, suits of Japanese armour among a large number of objects from Asia, and collections of natural history and minerals. But the prices realised in the sales in 1657 and 1658 were disappointing. Rembrandt was forced to sell his house and his printing-press and move to more modest accommodation on the Rozengracht in 1660. The authorities and his creditors were generally accommodating to him, except for the Amsterdam painters' guild, which introduced a new rule that no one in Rembrandt's circumstances could trade as a painter. To get around this, Hendrickje and Titus set up a business as art dealers in 1660, with Rembrandt as an employee.
In 1661 Rembrandt (or rather the new business) was contracted to complete work for the newly built city hall, but only after Govert Flinck, the artist previously commissioned, died without beginning to paint. The resulting work, The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis, was rejected and returned to the painter; the surviving fragment is only a fraction of the whole work. It was around this time that Rembrandt took on his last apprentice, Aert de Gelder. In 1662 he was still fulfilling major commissions for portraits and additional works. When Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany came to Amsterdam in 1667, he visited Rembrandt at his house.
Rembrandt outlived both Hendrickje, who died in 1663, and Titus, who died in 1668, leaving a baby daughter. He died within a year of his son, on 4 October 1669 in Amsterdam, and was buried as a poor man. in an unknown grave in the Westerkerk. It was in a numbered 'kerkgraf' (grave owned by the church) somewhere under a tombstone in the church. After twenty years, his remains were taken away and destroyed, as was customary with the remains of poor people at the time.
In a letter to Huygens, Rembrandt offered the only surviving explanation of what he sought to achieve through his art: the greatest and most natural movement, translated from de meeste en de natuurlijkste beweegelijkheid. The word "beweegelijkheid" is additionally argued to mean "emotion" or "motive." Whether this refers to objectives, material or otherwise, is open to interpretation; either way, critics have drawn particular attention to the way Rembrandt seamlessly melded the earthly and spiritual.
Earlier twentieth century connoisseurs claimed Rembrandt had produced over 600 paintings, nearly 400 etchings and 2,000 drawings. More recent scholarship, from the 1960s to the present day (led by the Rembrandt Research Project), often controversially, has winnowed his oeuvre to nearer 300 paintings. His prints, traditionally all called etchings, although a large number of are produced in whole or part by engraving and at times drypoint, have a much more stable total of slightly under 300. It is likely Rembrandt made a large number of more drawings in his lifetime than 2,000, but those extant are more rare than presumed. Two experts claim that the number of drawings whose autograph status can be regarded as effectively "certain" is no higher than about 75, although this is disputed. The list was to be unveiled at a scholarly meeting in February 2010.
At one time about ninety paintings were counted as Rembrandt self-portraits, but it is now known that he had his students copy his own self-portraits as part of their training. Modern scholarship has reduced the autograph count to over forty paintings, as well as a few drawings and thirty-one etchings, which include a large number of of the most remarkable images of the group. Some show him posing in quasi-historical fancy dress, or pulling faces at himself. His oil paintings trace the progress from an uncertain young man, through the dapper and quite successful portrait-painter of the 1630s, to the troubled but massively powerful portraits of his old age. Together they give a remarkably clear picture of the man, his appearance and his psychological make-up, as revealed by his richly weathered face.
In his portraits and self-portraits, he angles the sitter's face in such a way that the ridge of the nose nearly always forms the line of demarcation between brightly illuminated and shadowy areas. A Rembrandt face is a face partially eclipsed; and the nose, bright and obvious, thrusting into the riddle of halftones, serves to focus the viewer's attention upon, and to dramatize, the division between a flood of light—an overwhelming clarity—and a brooding duskiness.
In a number of biblical works, including The Raising of the Cross, Joseph Telling His Dreams and The Stoning of Saint Stephen, Rembrandt painted himself as a character in the crowd. Durham suggests that this was because the Bible was for Rembrandt "a kind of diary, an account of moments in his own life."
Among the more prominent characteristics of Rembrandt's work are his use of chiaroscuro, the theatrical employment of light and shadow derived from Caravaggio, or, more likely, from the Dutch Caravaggisti, but adapted for quite personal means. Also notable are his dramatic and lively presentation of subjects, devoid of the rigid formality that his contemporaries often displayed, and a deeply felt compassion for mankind, irrespective of wealth and age. His immediate family—his wife Saskia, his son Titus and his common-law wife Hendrickje—often figured prominently in his paintings, a large number of of which had mythical, biblical or historical themes.
Periods, themes and styles
Throughout his career Rembrandt took as his primary subjects the themes of portraiture, landscape and narrative painting. For the last, he was especially praised by his contemporaries, who extolled him as a masterly interpreter of biblical storeys for his skill in representing emotions and attention to detail. Stylistically, his paintings progressed from the early "smooth" manner, characterised by fine technique in the portrayal of illusionistic form, to the late "rough" treatment of richly variegated paint surfaces, which allowed for an illusionism of form suggested by the tactile quality of the paint itself.
A parallel development might be seen in Rembrandt's skill as a printmaker. In the etchings of his maturity, particularly from the late 1640s onward, the freedom and breadth of his drawings and paintings found expression in the print medium as well. The works encompass a wide range of subject matter and technique, at times leaving large areas of white paper to suggest space, at additional times employing complex webs of line to produce rich dark tones.
It was throughout Rembrandt's Leiden period (1625–1631) that Lastman's influence was most prominent. It is additionally likely that at this time Lievens had a strong impact on his work as well. Paintings were rather small, but rich in details (for example, in costumes and jewelry). Religious and allegorical themes were favored, as were tronies. In 1626 Rembrandt produced his first etchings, the wide dissemination of which would largely account for his international fame. In 1629 he completed Judas Repentant, Returning the Pieces of Silver and The Artist in His Studio, works that evidence his interest in the handling of light and variety of paint application, and constitute the first major progress in his development as a painter.
During his early years in Amsterdam (1632–1636), Rembrandt began to paint dramatic biblical and mythological scenes in high contrast and of large format (The Blinding of Samson, 1636, Belshazzar's Feast, c. 1635 Danaë, 1636), seeking to emulate the baroque style of Rubens. With the occasional help of assistants in Uylenburgh's workshop, he painted numerous portrait commissions both small (Jacob de Gheyn III) and large (Portrait of the Shipbuilder Jan Rijcksen and his Wife, 1633, Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632).
By the late 1630s Rembrandt had produced a few paintings and a large number of etchings of landscapes. Often these landscapes highlighted natural drama, featuring uprooted trees and ominous skies (Cottages before a Stormy Sky, c. 1641; The Three Trees, 1643). From 1640 his work became less exuberant and more sober in tone, possibly reflecting personal tragedy. Biblical scenes were now derived more often from the New Testament than the Old Testament, as had been the case before. In 1642 he painted The Night Watch, the most substantial of the important group portrait commissions which he received in this period, and through which he sought to find solutions to compositional and narrative problems that had been attempted in previous works.
In the decade following the Night Watch, Rembrandt's paintings varied greatly in size, subject, and style. The previous tendency to create dramatic effects primarily by strong contrasts of light and shadow gave way to the use of frontal lighting and larger and more saturated areas of color. Simultaneously, figures came to be placed parallel to the picture plane. These changes can be seen as a move toward a classical mode of composition and, considering the more expressive use of brushwork as well, might indicate a familiarity with Venetian art (Susanna and the Elders, 1637–47). At the same time, there was a marked decrease in painted works in favour of etchings and drawings of landscapes. In these graphic works natural drama eventually made way for quiet Dutch rural scenes.
In the 1650s, Rembrandt's style changed again. Colors became richer and brush strokes more pronounced. With these changes, Rembrandt distanced himself from earlier work and current fashion, which increasingly inclined toward fine, detailed works. His use of light becomes more jagged and harsh, and shine becomes almost nonexistent. His singular approach to paint application might have been suggested in part by familiarity with the work of Titian, and can be seen in the context of the then current discussion of 'finish' and surface quality of paintings. Contemporary accounts at times remark disapprovingly of the coarseness of Rembrandt's brushwork, and the artist himself was said to have dissuaded visitors from looking too closely at his paintings. The tactile manipulation of paint might hearken to mediaeval procedures, when mimetic effects of rendering informed a painting's surface. The end result is a richly varied handling of paint, deeply layered and often apparently haphazard, which suggests form and space in both an illusory and highly individual manner.
In later years biblical themes were still depicted often, but emphasis shifted from dramatic group scenes to intimate portrait-like figures (James the Apostle, 1661). In his last years, Rembrandt painted his most deeply reflective self-portraits (from 1652 to 1669 he painted fifteen), and several moving images of both men and women (The Jewish Bride, c. 1666)—in love, in life, and before God.
Rembrandt produced etchings for most of his career, from 1626 to 1660, when he was forced to sell his printing-press and practically abandoned etching. Only the troubled year of 1649 produced no dated work. He took easily to etching and, though he additionally learned to use a burin and partly engraved a large number of plates, the freedom of etching technique was fundamental to his work. He was quite closely involved in the whole process of printmaking, and must have printed at least early examples of his etchings himself. At first he used a style based on drawing, but soon moved to one based on painting, using a mass of lines and numerous bitings with the acid to achieve different strengths of line. Towards the end of the 1630s, he reacted against this manner and moved to a simpler style, with fewer bitings. He worked on the so-called Hundred Guilder Print in stages throughout the 1640s, and it was the "critical work in the middle of his career", from which his final etching style began to emerge. Although the print only survives in two states, the first quite rare, evidence of much reworking can be seen underneath the final print and a large number of drawings survive for elements of it.
In the mature works of the 1650s, Rembrandt was more ready to improvise on the plate and large prints typically survive in several states, up to eleven, often radically changed. He now uses hatching to create his dark areas, which often take up much of the plate. He additionally experimented with the effects of printing on different kinds of paper, including Japanese paper, which he used frequently, and on vellum. He began to use "surface tone," leaving a thin film of ink on parts of the plate instead of wiping it completely clean to print each impression. He made more use of drypoint, exploiting, especially in landscapes, the rich fuzzy burr that this technique gives to the first few impressions.
His prints have similar subjects to his paintings, although the twenty-seven self-portraits are relatively more common, and portraits of additional people less so. There are 46 landscapes, mostly small, which largely set the course for the graphic treatment of landscape until the end of the nineteenth century. One third of his etchings are of religious subjects, a large number of treated with a homely simplicity, whilst others are his most monumental prints. A few erotic, or just obscene, compositions have no equivalent in his paintings. He owned, until forced to sell it, a magnificent collection of prints by additional artists, and a large number of borrowings and influences in his work can be traced to artists as diverse as Mantegna, Raphael, Hercules Seghers, and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione.
The Night Watch
Rembrandt painted the large painting The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq between 1640 and 1642. This picture was called De Nachtwacht by the Dutch and The Night Watch by Sir Joshua Reynolds because by the eighteenth century the picture was so dimmed and defaced that it was almost indistinguishable, and it looked quite like a night scene. After it was cleaned, it was discovered to represent broad day—a party of musketeers stepping from a gloomy courtyard into the blinding sunlight.
The piece was commissioned for the new hall of the Kloveniersdoelen, the musketeer branch of the civic militia. Rembrandt departed from convention, which ordered that such genre pieces should be stately and formal, rather a line-up than an action scene. Instead he showed the militia readying themselves to embark on a mission (what kind of mission, an ordinary patrol or a few special event, is a matter of debate).
Contrary to what's often said, the work was hailed as a success from the beginning. Parts of the canvas were cut off (approximately twenty percent from the left hand side was removed) to make the painting fit its new position when it was moved to Amsterdam town hall in 1715; the Rijksmuseum has a smaller copy of what's thought to be the full original composition; the four figures in the front are at the centre of the canvas. The painting is now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
In 1968 the Rembrandt Research Project began under the sponsorship of the Netherlands Organization for the Advancement of Scientific Research; it was initially expected to last a highly optimistic ten years. Art historians teamed up with experts from additional fields to reassess the authenticity of works attributed to Rembrandt, using all methods available, including state-of-the-art technical diagnostics, and to compile a complete new catalogue raisonné of his paintings. As a result of their findings, a large number of paintings that were previously attributed to Rembrandt have been removed from their list, although others have been added back. Many of those removed are now thought to be the work of his students.
One example of activity is The Polish Rider, in New York's Frick Collection. Rembrandt's authorship had been questioned by at least one scholar, Alfred von Wurzbach, at the beginning of the twentieth century, but for a large number of decades later most scholars, including the foremost authority writing in English, Julius S. Held, agreed that it was indeed by the master. In the 1980s, however, Dr. Josua Bruyn of the Foundation Rembrandt Research Project cautiously and tentatively attributed the painting to one of Rembrandt's closest and most talented pupils, Willem Drost, about whom little is known. But Bruyn's remained a minority opinion, the suggestion of Drost's authorship is now generally rejected, and the Frick itself never changed its own attribution, the label still reading "Rembrandt" and not "attributed to" or "school of". More recent opinion has shifted even more decisively in favour of the Frick, with Simon Schama (in his 1999 book Rembrandt's Eyes) and the Rembrandt Project scholar Ernst van de Wetering (Melbourne Symposium, 1997) both arguing for attribution to the master. Those few scholars who still question Rembrandt's authorship feel that the execution is uneven, and favour different attributions for different parts of the work.
A similar issue was raised by Simon Schama in his book Rembrandt's Eyes concerning the verification of titles associated with the subject matter depicted in Rembrandt's works. For example, the exact subject being portrayed in Aristotle with a Bust of Homer (recently retitled by curators at the Metropolitan Museum) has been directly challenged by Schama applying the scholarship of Paul Crenshaw. Schama presents a substantial argument that it was the famous ancient Greek painter Apelles who's depicted in contemplation by Rembrandt and not Aristotle.
Another painting, Pilate Washing His Hands, is additionally of questionable attribution. Critical opinion of this picture has varied after 1905, when Wilhelm von Bode described it as "a somewhat abnormal work" by Rembrandt. Scholars have after dated the painting to the 1660s and assigned it to an anonymous pupil, possibly Aert de Gelder. The composition bears superficial resemblance to mature works by Rembrandt but lacks the master's command of illumination and modeling.
The attribution and re-attribution work is ongoing. In 2005 four oil paintings previously attributed to Rembrandt's students were reclassified as the work of Rembrandt himself: Study of an Old Man in Profile and Study of an Old Man with a Beard from a US private collection, Study of a Weeping Woman, owned by the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Portrait of an Elderly Woman in a White Bonnet, painted in 1640.The Old Man Sitting in a Chair is a further example: in 2014, Professor Ernst van de Wetering offered his view to The Guardian that the demotion of the 1652 painting Old Man Sitting in a Chair "was a vast mistake...it is a most important painting. The painting needs to be seen in terms of Rembrandt’s experimentation”. This was highlighted much earlier by Nigel Konstam who studied Rembrandt throughout his career.
Rembrandt's own studio practise is a major factor in the difficulty of attribution, since, like a large number of masters before him, he encouraged his students to copy his paintings, at times finishing or retouching them to be sold as originals, and at times selling them as authorised copies. Additionally, his style proved easy enough for his most talented students to emulate. Further complicating matters is the uneven quality of a few of Rembrandt's own work, and his frequent stylistic evolutions and experiments. As well, there were later imitations of his work, and restorations which so seriously damaged the original works that they're no longer recognizable. It is highly likely that there will never be universal agreement as to what does and what doesn't constitute a genuine Rembrandt.
Technical investigation of Rembrandt's paintings in the possession of the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Kassel) has been conducted by Hermann Kühn in 1977. The pigment analyses of a few thirty paintings have shown that Rembrandt's palette consisted of the following pigments: lead white, various ochres, Vandyke brown, bone black, charcoal black, lamp black, vermilion, madder lake, azurite, ultramarine, yellow lake and lead-tin-yellow. One painting () reportedly contains gamboge. Rembrandt quite rarely used pure blue or green colors, the most pronounced exception being Belshazzar's Feast in the National Gallery in London. The book by Bomford (above reference) describes more recent technical investigations and pigment analyses of Rembrandt's paintings predominantly in the National Gallery in London. The best source for technical information on Rembrandt's paintings on the web is the Rembrandt Database containing all works of Rembrandt with detailed investigative reports, infrared and radiography images and additional scientific details.
Name and signature
"Rembrandt" is a modification of the spelling of the artist's first name that he introduced in 1633. Roughly speaking, his earliest signatures (ca. 1625) consisted of an initial "R", or the monogram "RH" (for Rembrant Harmenszoon; i.e. "Rembrant, the son of Harmen"), and starting in 1629, "RHL" (the "L" stood, presumably, for Leiden). In 1632, he used this monogram early in the year, then added his family name to it, "RHL-van Rijn", but replaced this form in that same year and began using his first name alone with its original spelling, "Rembrant". In 1633 he added a "d", and maintained this form consistently from then on, proving that this minor change had a meaning for him (whatever it might have been). This change is purely visual; it doesn't change the way his name is pronounced. Curiously enough, notwithstanding the large number of paintings and etchings signed with this modified first name, most of their documents that mentioned him throughout his lifetime retained the original "Rembrant" spelling. (Note: the rough chronology of signature forms above applies to the paintings, and to a lesser degree to the etchings; from 1632, presumably, there's only one etching signed "RHL-v. Rijn," the large-format "Raising of Lazarus," B 73). His practise of signing his work with his first name, later followed by Vincent van Gogh, was probably inspired by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo who, then as now, were referred to by their first names alone.
Rembrandt ran a large workshop and had a large number of pupils. The list of Rembrandt pupils from his period in Leiden as well as his time in Amsterdam is quite long, mostly because his influence on painters around him was so great that it is difficult to tell whether someone worked for him in his studio or just copied his style for patrons eager to acquire a Rembrandt. A partial list should include Ferdinand Bol, Adriaen Brouwer, Gerrit Dou, Willem Drost, Heiman Dullaart, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Carel Fabritius, Govert Flinck, Hendrick Fromantiou, Aert de Gelder, Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten, Abraham Janssens, Godfrey Kneller, Philip de Koninck, Jacob Levecq, Nicolaes Maes, Jürgen Ovens, Christopher Paudiß, Willem de Poorter, Jan Victors, and Willem van der Vliet.
The most notable collections of Rembrandt's work are at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, including The Night Watch and The Jewish Bride, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the National Gallery in London, Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, The Louvre, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, and Schloss Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel. The Royal Castle in Warsaw displays two paintings by Rembrandt from Lanckoroński collection in a separate, dedicated room of Renaissance Courtier Lodgings.
The Rembrandt House Museum in central Amsterdam in the house he bought at the height of his success has furnishings that are mostly not original, but period pieces comparable to those Rembrandt might have had, and paintings reflecting Rembrandt's use of the house for art dealing. His printmaking studio has been set up with a printing press, where replica prints are printed. The museum has a few Rembrandt paintings, a large number of loaned, but an important collection of his prints, a good selection of which are on rotating display. All major print rooms have large collections of Rembrandt prints, although as a few exist in only a single impression, no collection is complete. The degree to which these collections are displayed to the public, or can easily be viewed by them in the print room, varies greatly.
- The Stoning of Saint Stephen (1625) – Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon
- Andromeda Chained to the Rocks (1630) – Mauritshuis, The Hague
- Jacob de Gheyn III (1632) – Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
- Philosopher in Meditation (1632) – The Louvre, Paris
- The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) – Mauritshuis, The Hague
- Artemisia (1634) – Oil on canvas, 142 × 152 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid
- Descent from the Cross (1634) – Oil on canvas, 158 × 117 cm, looted from the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), Germany in 1806, currently Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
- Belshazzar's Feast (1635) – National Gallery, London
- The Prodigal Son in the Tavern (c. 1635) – Oil on canvas, 161 × 131 cm Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
- Danaë (1636–1643) – Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
- The Night Watch, formally The Militia Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq (1642) – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- Christ Healing the Sick (etching c. 1643, additionally known as the Hundred Guilder Print), nicknamed for the huge sum paid for it
- Boaz and Ruth (1643) aka The Old RabbiOld Man – Woburn Abbey/Gemaldegalerie, Berlin
- The Mill (1645/48) – National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
- Old Man with a Gold Chain ("Old Man with a Black Hat and Gorget") (c. 1631) Art Institute of Chicago
- Susanna and the Elders (1647) – Oil on panel, 76 × 91 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin
- Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer (1653) – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Bathsheba at Her Bath (1654) – The Louvre, Paris
- Christ Presented to the People (Ecce Homo) (1655) – Drypoint, Birmingham Museum of Art
- Selfportrait (1658) – Frick Collection, New York
- The Three Crosses (1660) Etching, fourth state
- Ahasuerus and Haman at the Feast of Esther (1660) – Pushkin Museum, Moscow
- The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis (1661) – Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (Claudius Civilis led a Dutch revolt against the Romans) (most of the cut up painting is lost, only the central part still exists)
- Portrait of Dirck van Os (1662) - Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
- Syndics of the Drapers' Guild (Dutch De Staalmeesters, 1662) – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- The Jewish Bride (1665) – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- "The Entombment Sketch" (c. 1639 and reworked c. 1654) oil on oak panel Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, Glasgow
- Saul and David (ca. 1660-1665) – Mauritshuis, The Hague
- Feb 12, 2015 - May 17, 2015: Late Rembrandt, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
- Oct 15, 2014 - Jan 18, 2015: Rembrandt: The Late Works, The National Gallery, London.
- Oct 19, 2014 - Jan 4, 2015: Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting in Europe, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Art.
- May 19, 2014 - Jun 27, 2014: From Rembrandt to Rosenquist: Works on Paper from the NAC's Permanent Collection, National Arts Club.
- Sep 16, 2013 - Nov 14, 2013: Rembrandt: The Consummate Etcher, Syracuse University Art Galleries.
- Apr 21, 2011 - Jul 18, 2011: Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, Musée du Louvre.
Drawings and etchings
- List of paintings by Rembrandt
- List of etchings by Rembrandt
- List of drawings by Rembrandt
- Self-portraits by Rembrandt
- List of Rembrandt pupils
- Dutch Golden Age painting
- Flemish Baroque painting
- Early Netherlandish painting
- Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting
- Naturalism (art)
- Rembrandt Research Project
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft