Dutch painter Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt (1606-1669) was born on this day in Leiden. He is considered one of history's greatest artists, creating over 500 paintings, 300 etchings, and 1,000 drawings. His Biblical scenes and self-portraits celebrated wisdom, love, and faith.
"Painting is silent poetry, and poetry painting that speaks," revealed famous lyric poet Simonides.
Rembrandt captured the poetic passion and personalities of his subjects and created drama in ordinary events. A deeply religious man who painted with color, he was a master of chiaroscuro, the ability to capture the effect of light and shade in a painting.
"Chose only one master," Rembrandt explained. "Nature."
The master excelled in all fields-- landscapes, still life, and portraits. By age 30, he was the most successful painter in Holland. He was one of the first to regularly paint self-portraits.
"Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God," he said. His masterpieces include some of the most moving pictures ever painted and include: Self-Portrait (1692), Night Watch (1642), and Jewish Bride (1665)
Art critic Sister Wendy Beckett praised Rembrandt's "tender reverence" and purity as an artist. "I am certain that Rembrandt never sold out," she said.
Rembrandt's greatness, said artist Robert Henri in The Art Spirit, "lies in his intense feeling for his subject...It is as though the brush stroke had come out of the lifeblood of the model."
Calling Rembrandt "everyman's painter," biographer Gladys Schmitt wrote, "It is hard to imagine a day when his canvases, with their mastery, their splendor, and their profundity, will cease to draw and stir our minds."
What you know leads to insight.