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Self-portrait by Rembrandt, about 1660Self-portrait by Rembrandt, about 1660 The painter Rembrandt (1606–69) lived and worked in the mid-1600s in the Dutch Republic during the Dutch Golden Age of art. Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest European painters of all time, he made his name painting portraits of the rich people of Amsterdam, where he lived, but he also painted many self-portraits and religious and other subjects. His 300 or so paintings all reveal much about the lives of the people they show. A successful artist in his own lifetime, he nevertheless suffered personal tragedy and financial hardship in his later years.

Self-portrait, about 1628, when Rembrandt was 22Self-portrait, about 1628, when Rembrandt was 22

Early life

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in the Dutch town of Leiden on 15th July 1606. His father was a prosperous miller. He studied at the University of Leiden but was more interested in painting. In around 1621 he was apprenticed to Jacob van Swanenburgh, a famous painter of historical subjects, for three years before opening his own studio in 1624 or 1625. In 1631 he moved to Amsterdam, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life.

Rembrandt's habit of signing his work with his first name was probably inspired by Raphael, Leonardo and Michelangelo, all known by their first names alone. It was later followed by Vincent van Gogh.

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