Monday would have been the 407th birthday of acclaimed Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Google is honoring the day with one of Rembrandt's some 90 self-portraits.
Monday would have been the 407th birthday of acclaimed Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Google is honoring this occasion not with a doodle per se, but with a self-portrait.
That Rembrandt, who took his first name as his artist’s signature at 27-years-old, should be honored with a self-portrait is fitting: the artist painted some 50 self-portraits, in addition to about 30 etchings and seven drawings of himself. Those works express not just introspection, but also the thoughtful attention that Rembrandt levied on his painted subjects - to the lowest and highest points of character, to our capacity for change, to motives and desires, and to how that humanity could resonate from oil lacquered on a page.
Rembrandt, who was born in Leiden, Netherlands in 1606 and left school to study painting at 14 years old, is perhaps best known for the paintings that depict not himself, but his particular understanding of the world. Rembrandt’s subjects are broad – biblical tales, inherited legends, contemporary dramas arrested mid-action, landscapes swathed in light – but what they share is a common interest in the unfolding of narrative, the telling of a story in just one frame. That was accomplished in painting stories arrested not just in mid-motion, but in painting portraits and landscapes that appear to refer to a broader narrative, that in their resonate emotion seem to imply a beginning and an end.