Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, most popularly remembered as Rembrandt, was one of the most unique and sought-after baroque artists of the Dutch Golden Era. Born in the eighteenth century in the Netherlands, people remembered him for his self-images as he used to happily include himself as a character in his biblical work!
The name Baroque can be intriguing for those who aren’t aware of this style of artwork. For the curious, this art form began in Europe in the 1700s and lasted for about forty years or so. It was marked with stark use of colors, movement, immaculate detailing, and addition of heavy dark shades. The idea was to create a sense of glory.
Rembrandt, just like other painters who embraced the Baroque style and technique, purposely used zealous colors to stand out from the crowd. He used a combination of the three most popular colors, yellow, red, and blue to capture the hearts of his audience. Let us look at some of his work to understand his style and technique better.
You would be surprised to know that, even today, no one knows about the characters used in this painting. Since it is estimated to have been made during the formative years of Rembrandt, the keepers of the artwork gave it a common random name – history painting.
The Baroque style is clearly visible by the fact that steep colors are used, especially on the vest of the guard standing on the right and the shield of the guard kneeling in front of his master. You can even notice the contrast in the clothing of all the characters on the panel. Lastly, the lighter shade in the background accentuates Rembrandt’s technique.
The passion of the artist and his detailing makes him a name to remember. A quick look at the edges of the pikes and the eyes of the master and the subjects around confirms this. This technique became famous after the Renaissance era.
The Ascension Of Christ
Another great piece of artwork by Rembrandt is that of the lord father Christ’s ascension to the heavenly abode. The artist showed his skills by doing away from traditional baroque style. He focused on more impressionism style and the technique of light Chiaroscuro –something that Rembrandt himself created along with Leonardo da Vinci!
Do not get confused by the name Chiaroscuro, it simply means the usage of light and dark shades to create a moment of awe. Since the above painting captured moments of awe and grandeur, the usage of this technique was a no-brainer. Hence, you can see that the color of Christ is illuminated while the subjects are in shades of darkness.
By using impressionism and giving meaning to the characters in the background, Rembrandt justified the depiction of the ascension. Being a great artist means sometimes doing away with their art style and technique and adopting something else, to create sheer greatness!
Old Man Praying
A perfect example of Rembrandt’s signature style is this beauty above. Old man praying has all the features that make it a classic and a Baroque special. You can notice the glow on the face and the hands of the character from far away. At the same time, the essence of the bible below isn’t lost.
The steep dark color on the panel surrounding the old man adds to the importance of prayer and its meaning in the life of the old man. The technique used to carve and depict the crumbs on the outer robe adds to the realism and a sense of quiet to the painting. This work is all about detailing and the style used in each part of the canvas which makes it special.
Notice the styling of the beard, the grey on the hair, and the shadows under and in between the folded hands of the old man. Rembrandt has even taken care of the shadow on the bible and made sure that the audience captures the holy book. The cherry on the cake is the closed eyes with slightly open lips, chanting the name of God!
Bathsheba at Her Bath 1654
Once again, a signature Rembrandt technique is to enlighten the key character by making sure that the surrounding supports this depiction. The biblical importance of the story of Bathsheba is well captured.
Rembrandt paintings were so unique that young painters influenced by European art started following this format across Spain, Portugal, Italy & France. By creating deep contrast, he has depicted drama and a sense of tension to the character who is in a fix over recent scandals.
Bathsheba is holding a letter from King David who fell in love with her and impregnated her even though she was married to someone else. Rembrandt Van Rijn has used the perfect shaping of the face to express agony and disdain on the character’s face.
Rembrandt’s work is remembered as a great contribution and he is immensely popular for his Baroque artwork. The 1st Art Gallery has many reproductions of the paintings from the yesteryears to decorate your space and give it an artistic appearance.