a series of articles on famous artists
By Smriti Daniel
They gather in the gloomy courtyard, each carrying some small weapon.
In one corner a drummer bangs out a marching beat and the group
of men slowly begin to fall into place. They don't look anything
like the policemen we know today, but in those times such 'companies'
of civilian men were often called upon to guard the city. The bright
sunlight streams in, falling in sharp, direct rays upon their clothes
and one little girl (perhaps the daughter of one of the men) in
particular looks almost golden as she runs through the group. The
painting is 'The Night Watch' and the painter is considered a giant
among European artists; the Funday Times presents for your inspection
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn.
The Life and Times of Rembrandt:
Rembrandt (say: rem- brant) was a 17th century painter of Dutch
origins. The son of a miller, Rembrandt never actually finished
college, but instead spent his time studying art. He soon set up
his own studio in Leidin where he collaborated closely with his
friend Jan Lievens. In later years Rembrandt became known not only
for his painting and sketching but for his etchings as well. Many
students came to him with the request that he teach them.
The plague swept Holland twice during Rembrandt's lifetime, taking
the lives of many hundreds of people with it; and even though he
prospered professionally, Rembrandt had a tough time with his personal
life. His first three children all died within months of being born
and he became a widower when his 29 year old wife passed away. Financially
as well, Rembrandt had some very low periods and was even declared
bankrupt in 1656.
of Rembrandt's Creations:
Well you already know a little about the Night Watch, which is both
very famous and very large. It takes up most of the wall on which
it hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. People will stand in front
of it for hours as they slowly pick up the details hidden in the
shadowy parts of the painting. Rembrandt loved to play with light
and shadow, and if you've been reading your Funday you'll remember
that Da Vinci did too, the technique that they both employ is called
chiaroscuro (say key-arrow-skew-row).
a different mood is this self portrait of the artist when he was
barely 25 years old. He looks quite comical doesn't he, with his
hair flying all over the place and his mouth all scrunched up? He
created this well known etching along with many other sketches and
paintings in an attempt to understand how to depict emotions better.
painting called 'A Musical Allegory' is one of Rembrandt's early
works. He painted it when he was only 20 years old and signed it
with the monogram RH - Rembrandt Harmensz. Two vertical halves make
up this painting which is rich in detail. If you closely inspect
the painting you will be bowled over by Rembrandt's ability to portray
even the most microscopic detail.
Rembrandt who is said to have created 600 paintings, 300 etchings
and 1400 drawings is justly famous. Next year, on the 15th of July
2006, the world celebrates the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt's
birth. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is revered as one of Holland's
greatest and most prolific artists, even the Dutch museums are going
to get into planning this birthday party!