i still remember the very first time i saw a painting by Rembrandt – i was 9 years old and my father had decided to introduce me to the art of painting with oils. he gave me my very own artist’s case, all included, and a small canvas then he told me to go get the Ra-Ri volume of the family’s scruffy old encyclopedia. he opened it at a four-page fold out – showing Rembrandt’s perhaps most famous painting:
<–The Night Watch – 1642
it was in black and white of course, but the LIGHT was still visible as some sort of extra on the scene. just as i later fell in love with Bach’s music, i fell in love with Rembrandt’s light. it doesn’t matter if it’s landscape, a self portrait or a sneaky peak at his bathing wife (common-law wife) – it is always present, as both a part of the painting and as an observer of the motif:
Portrait of a Man in Military Dress – 1650 –>
The Conspiration of the Bataves 1661-1662
what fascinates me most about this light is that 9 times out of 10 it is impossible locate the SOURCE of the light. there are no lampposts or torches present, and still the light is there.
if i could paint only one picture of my wife, the way Rembrandt portrays his bathing Hendrickje in this painting – seemingly glowing from within – i would die a very happy man.
A Girl at a Window 1645 —>
i have no idea who this girl is, but i want to think it is his daughter – by her features it very well could be.
i’ll finish this post with one of Rembrandts many, many, many self-portraits – it some times seems he thought of himself as the prime subject of his art: