Cease and Look – Portrait of an Outdated Lady by Rembrandt (1606-1669)

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn was born within the affluent Dutch metropolis of Leiden, the son of a malt-miller, Harmen Gerritsz. van Rijn. (‘Harmensz’. is brief for ‘Harmenszoon’ – son of Harmen). He was anticipated to study his father’s commerce, which was important to the brewing of beer, a staple of the Dutch financial system. However he had fairly different concepts, and put himself to review below a painter, not of modest portraits or still-lifes however of historic topics, way more formidable. And he set himself up as an unbiased artist on the age of 19. His youth was spent within the turmoil of the Netherlandish revolt towards Spain, during which unshowy bourgeois virtues and the cautious pursuit of fabric prosperity had been pitched towards the Catholic tradition of still-Spanish Flanders, with its flamboyant Baroque visible custom, exemplified within the life and work of two main Flemish painters, Peter Paul Rubens and Antony van Dyck. Each practised internationally and left necessary artworks right here in England as painters to the King, Charles I. Each visited Italy and discovered a lot from the Italian masters.

Regardless of his apparent ambitions, Rembrandt by no means left Holland and his imaginative and prescient remained true to the sober Calvinism of the Protestant north. He didn’t keep away from grand, crowded determine topics, however tended to work on a extra modest scale than Rubens, portraying his fellow townsfolk in on a regular basis settings and engaged in sober civic actions. Early in his profession he was already portray not solely histories however portraits and spiritual topics, in addition to increase a magisterial corpus of etchings – he’s nonetheless acknowledged as presumably the best of all masters of etching. He fed these numerous pursuits with a profoundly artistic information of portray as practised elsewhere in Europe, and his method to his artwork remained below the affect of the Italian grasp Caravaggio, and Caravaggio’s many Dutch followers. His compositions are managed by the highly effective contrasts of sunshine and shadow that he had discovered from the Caravaggisti.

Nonetheless, he was a painter with astonishing originality of imaginative and prescient, his view of the world ruled by a deeply-felt humanity that colors each topic he tackles. Whether or not his theme is glamorous feminine magnificence or the apprehensive preoccupations of previous age, the obligations of native dignitaries or the duties of clergymen or troopers, he confronts the realities of life with a keenly observant sympathy that renders every part he describes poignant, part of our frequent expertise as human beings.

He famously made many self-portraits, each work and etchings, which chronicle his personal progress via life from flamboyant youth to pensive and decrepit age. His likenesses of different persons are as penetrating as his self-portraits, and his work of aged girls – typically assumed to point out his personal mom, although that’s normally a sentimental error – are great accounts of previous age. This instance exhibits somebody whose id we don’t know, however whose age, 83, is rigorously recorded, as is the date of its creation, 1634. That was the yr he lastly settled down as a citizen of Amsterdam, the Dutch metropolis, and married Saskia van Uylenburgh, the cousin of an art-dealer and painter with whom he had been lodging.

May this previous lady be some connection of his new spouse’s? It’s a very intimate portrayal. The tender however unflinching description of weary flesh and ingrained fear is offset by an equally categorical recording of meticulously starched and pleated ruff, coif and cap. Even the unobtrusive pins that hold the cap in place on the previous lady’s head are exactly proven. These lovingly delineated clothes are the outward show of a sternly regimented personal life, a part of the material of the strict Calvinist Protestantism that prevailed within the newly liberated Dutch state. This isn’t the dignity of rank or wealth, however the unpretentious pleasure of an sincere, God-fearing self-discipline.

Rembrandt typically confirmed himself in ostentatious, theatrical garments, as a lover of dressing-up. These photos painting the potential of his vivid creativeness to dwell in a bigger, extra vibrant world. However he was not an excellent businessman, and regardless of his unflagging impressed creativity, the bigger world finally eluded him, and his profession resulted in poverty.

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