Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 4 October 1669), better known as "Rembrandt" was a Dutch 17th century painter, widely regarded as one of the greatest in his field. He is revered for his realistic and lively portrayals of people and nature, showing a warmth and humanity that is admired to this day.
His most famous paintings are De Staalmeesters (The Sampling Officials ), De anatomische les van Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp), Het Joodse Bruidje (The Jewish Bride), De samenzwering van de Bataven onder Claudius Civilis (The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis) and, of course De Nachtwacht (The Night Watch).
Rembrandt was also an innovator, far ahead of his time. Later in life he experimented by using expressive brush strokes that gave his work a more coarse look when viewed in close-up. From a distance they still looked magnificent.
- Actually, That's My Assistant: He worked with many students and pupils who helped him create many of his best works. This caused some consternation with art critics, because he often signed the work of his students.
- Alliterative Name: Rembrandt van Rijn.
- Art Evolution: Rembrandt's art has always been extraordinary realistic, warm and lively in its portrayal of human emotions. In the final years of his life, however, he started experimenting with his brush strokes, creating work that can be compared to the impressionists of the 19th century.
- As the Good Book Says...: Painted many biblical scenes, including The Stoning of Saint Stephen, Descent From The Cross, Belshazzar's Feast, The Prodigal Son In The Tavern, Batsheba At Her Bath, The Blinding Of Samson, Jacob Blessing The Sons Of Joseph. His last and most poignant, completed before his death in 1669, was The Return of the Prodigal Son.
- Back from the Dead: The Raising Of Lazarus was the subject of one of his paintings.
- Body Horror: The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp shows the doctor dissecting a corpse. He also painted a Slaughtered Ox and a painting in which Samson's eyes are blinded by soldiers, all considered to be very graphic for the time.
- Chiaroscuro: Rembrandt made frequent use of scenes where people are shown in contrast between dark and light. Sometimes it only appeared to be this way. The Night Watch was nicknamed that way because of its dark varnish, which had people think it depicted a night scene. This varnish was removed only in the 1940s.
- Creator Cameo: Painted many self portraits from a young age until he was an old man.
- Face Framed in Shadow: Rembrandt is renowned for painting people half-covered by shadow.
- First-Name Basis: He is much better known by his first name than his last one.
- Follow the Leader: One of the most influential painters. His sense of humanity and amazing realism has been tried by many, but seldom surpassed or even matched.
- Matzo Fever: The Jewish Bride.
- Mentor Archetype: Philosopher In Meditation fits the trope so well that we used it as the page image.
- Snobs Versus Slobs: Rembrandt painted many group portraits and was criticized for sometimes showing servants more prominently than more important men.
- Toilet Humour: This artistic genius also made some drawings of an obese woman urinating and him and his wife having sex in bed.
Rembrandt in Popular Culture
- He appears in an album of Gilles de Geus.
- He also played a major part in the Suske en Wiske adventure De Nachtwachtbrigade.
- In De Kiekeboes album Hotel O all the hotel rooms have names of painters. A famous pop star stays in the Rembrandt room, guarded by his two bodyguards at night, nicknamed his Nightwatch.
- In Asterix and the Soothsayer the soothsayer dissects a fish while Asterix and the other villagers watch him. This is a shout-out to Rembrandt's famous painting of The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp.
- The pop band The Rembrandts, best known for the theme song from Friends lent their name from him.
- In the John Christopher post-apocalyptic novel Beyond The Burning Lands, the protagonist explores the crumbling ruins of a pre-disaster mansion and finds one of Rembrandt's paintings still hanging on a wall. The artist's name means nothing to him, but he recognizes the talent on display.
- In the webcomic Girl Genius, a guy named "R. Van Rijn" is remembered as one of the most brilliant Sparks ever seen in Europa, even 200 years after his death.
- 1632: A young Rembrandt is a minor character in the series, and is depicted as going through something of a personal crisis after having his life's work shown to him in the time-travellers' books. In the end, he decides to re-make his paintings, but updated (for example, the "new" Night Watch carries pump-action shotguns and the new "Anatomy Lesson" is taught by a woman in modern doctor's whites) and let history decide which ones they like better. Several of the "new" paintings show up as covers for books in the series.
- Illustrator Akihiko Yoshida names him as one of his major influences and it shows with his use of earth tones.