The Dutch Golden Age painter, printmaker, and draughtsman Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is one of the most famous artists in the world. He was a prolific master of three different art forms and is considered the most important figure in Dutch art history.
Rembrandt’s work influenced many artists of his time. He was one of the first modern painters and understood the value of detail in depicting the world. His paintings depicted natural human figures with feelings, imperfections, and morality. Many of the painters of his time studied under him and were inspired by his work.
Below is a list of 10 most famous Rembrandt paintings.
The Night Watch
The Night Watch was one of Rembrandt’s most ambitious paintings. Its original dimensions were 13 feet by 16 feet, and it included 18 guardsmen and 16 figures. It was Rembrandt’s biggest work yet, and it radically changed the concept of a Dutch group portrait. This painting also subordinated orthodox portraiture to the larger whole. The result was a work of stunning pictorial splendour.
The Night Watch depicts a group of militiamen. These men were raised during the Dutch war for independence, to protect the cities from invasion. After the war ended, they were no longer used for military purposes, but were kept alive for symbolic reasons. Rembrandt reinterpreted this tradition and staged a group portrait as a history painting. The figures march toward the spectators, and some scholars have suggested that the figures are mascots of the militia. In addition to the soldiers, there is also a little girl in the background – possibly an angel.
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee depicts Christ’s miraculous calming of the sea in the Gospel of Mark. This painting shows the disciples frightened by the storm, but they remain calm in the face of the Savior. The calming miracle teaches the disciples about faith.
In the painting, Jesus is depicted calmly in a boat with his disciples, who are hanging on to the sides. The storm rages in the background, and Rembrandt’s face is serene, looking out towards the viewer. Rembrandt was also a self-portraitist, but it is unlikely he painted Christ In the Storm on the Sea of Galilee as a self-portrait. This painting tells of faith and endurance, and it shimmers with the spiritual world of Rembrandt.
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp is a fascinating look into the life of the first physician in Amsterdam. In the painting, Tulp records a dissection of a body, using graphical representations rather than verbal descriptions. Using this technique, Tulp is able to show anatomical details about a dead body.
This painting was commissioned by the Guild of Surgeons in Amsterdam in 1632. Rembrandt was 26 years old at the time of its creation. The Guild commissioned Rembrandt to paint a portrait of a dissection, and the Guild paid him a fee for each person included in the portrait. Because of the lack of refrigeration, public dissections could only be performed in winter months.
Self-Portrait with Two Circles
Self-Portrait with Two Circles by the Dutch artist Rembrandt dates from the late 1660s. He painted more than 40 self-portraits in his lifetime, including this one. The self-portrait was painted to express his feelings about himself and his life.
Self-Portrait with Two Circles is one of his last self-portraits. He is dressed in a red, fur-lined robe and white hat. He holds a palette, brushes, and a maulstick. Rembrandt’s portrait is notable for its shallow space, two circles, and the artist’s tools.
The painting was a study of the artist’s process of self-expression. It documents the artist’s development over time and shows the artist’s changing personality. Initially, the portraits were merely a symbol of his connections with other famous figures, but later on they reflect the artist’s true character.
Bathsheba at Her Bath
Bathsheba at her bath was completed in 1654. The painting shows a scene from the biblical story of David and Bathsheba. The scene depicts the moment that David discovers Bathsheba and their damaging dalliance. The thick brushstrokes of Rembrandt’s Bathsheba at Her Bath set it apart from other Renaissance and Baroque paintings. This painting was gifted to the Louvre in 1869 by Dr. Louis La Caze, a wealthy man who was a patron of the arts.
The painting was originally painted by Rembrandt in 1636 and was heavily revised in the 1640s. The artist replaced the face of his wife Saskia with that of a woman named Geertje Dircx. The painting was badly damaged in the 1980s when a Lithuanian national hurled sulfuric acid at it, destroying parts of it. The center section of the painting was left as a patchwork of dots. The painting’s right arm and face were destroyed the most.
The Sampling Officials
The Sampling Officials, also known as the Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, are a group of figures in an oil painting by Rembrandt.
This painting, also known as the Syndics, was Rembrandt’s largest portrait commission. While the Syndics depict a small group, each figure in this group receives equal importance. This composition was conceived with a combination of formal and psychological means. The composition and glowing colouristic harmonies give the painting a unity of purpose.
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis
The Conspiracy of Claudius Civili was the biggest painting Rembrandt ever created. The Amsterdam city council commissioned Rembrandt to paint this work for the Town Hall in Amsterdam. In the early 17th century, the Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis was painted using oils and was the largest Rembrandt painting.
The Return of the Prodigal Son
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt is a monumental painting. It is a representation of the Christian idea of mercy and demonstrates Rembrandt’s mastery of both the art and the human subject. In doing so, Rembrandt goes beyond his fellow Baroque artists. This painting evokes the sense of religious and spiritual awareness, and its expressive lighting enhances its effect.
Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph
Like many of his religious works, this painting tells a specific story from the Bible, and Rembrandt likely intended it to be a devotional work. Regardless of how the painting was conceived in the past, it remains a popular representation of the Bible, even today. However, it is not as current as it was in Rembrandt’s time, as the medium has changed significantly.