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  • the work depicts the important annual January anatomy lesson, which was an eagerly anticipated event for all the local senators, burgomasters, and aldermen of the city. The curators and rectors from the university also attended with crowds of professors and students while the general public purchased tickets to sit on benches in the back row. In The Body Emblazoned, Jonathan Sawday noted that, "...anatomization takes place so that, in lieu of a formerly complete 'body,' a new 'body' of knowledge and understanding can be created. As the physical body is fragmented, so the body of understanding is held to be shaped and formed."


One of the first "modern" artists, Rembrandt had a deep understanding of the importance of detail in the depiction of the world around him. He was renowned for his outstanding ability to not only depict very natural, realistic human figures but even more importantly, to portray deep human feelings, imperfections, and morality. He trained many painters of his time who were eager to emulate the characteristics synonymous with his name, including the many pupils who rotated throughout his workshops in Leiden as well as Amsterdam. His influence on painters around him was so great that it is difficult to tell whether someone worked for him in his studio or just copied his style for patrons eager to acquire a Rembrandt.

His dedication to the truth and beauty in everyday life was adopted by other artists of his time like Spanish painter Diego Velazquez and by painters in 18th century Germany and Venice. His style was reinterpreted by, among other, the German engravers Johann Georg Schmidt and Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich, and later served as inspiration for painters like Jean Honore Fragonard and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The 19th century saw a "Rembrandt revival" for realist painters working in places like France, Germany, and America.


  • Rembrandt was renowned for his outstanding ability to not only depict very natural, realistic human figures but even more importantly, to portray deep human feelings, imperfections and morality. He believed that human emotions were more important than any other aspects of life and his subjects' feelings and experiences are what he wanted to convey even when painting them within the context of history, religion, or society.

  • One of Rembrandt's biggest contributions was his transformation of the etching process from a relatively new reproductive technique into a true art form. His reputation as the greatest etcher in the history of the medium remains to this day. Although few of his paintings left the Dutch Republic during his lifetime, his prints were widely circulated throughout Europe.

  • Rembrandt's extensive self-portraits are notable in that they inform a unique visual biography of the artist. Whether painting himself in costume or as an ordinary man, he surveyed himself without vanity and with a vulnerable sincerity.

  • During the Dutch Golden Age, portraiture rose in popularity. With the new trade routes delivering an awareness of exotic cultures and foreign interests, members of the new merchant class enjoyed commissioning imaginative likenesses of their selves to display in their homes, and companies and other professional organizations would also acquire group portraits. Rembrandt was one of the greatest portraitists of this time, known for his impeccable capturing of his subjects' distinct personalities and emotional idiosyncrasies.

  • Although illustrated scenes from the Bible and large-scale history paintings were falling out of fashion, Rembrandt remained devoted to the genre compelled by a deep religious devotion and empathy for the human condition. He has been called one of the great prophets of civilization due to his humane rendering of these age-old narratives.

  • Rembrandt would surpass the inventiveness of Titian and Velazquez with his progressive handling of paint, making it as much a subject in the composition of a painting as his figures. Variations of brush stroke between loose and rough, or the manipulation of textures through scratching or with a palette knife, would all contribute greatly to a radically new signature style that would influence generations to come.

  • curated by painter N.G.JHONZSONN


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