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.
Tropes in Rembrandt's work:
- 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.
- Bloody 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 shadows and evolving the Chiaroscuro lightning into it's exaggerated form the Tenebrism. As such, he is the Trope Codifier.
- 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.