Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn
b. 1606 Leiden, The Netherlands, d. 1669 Amsterdam,Dutch painter, draughtsman and etcher. From 1632 onwards he signed his works with only the forename Rembrandt; in documents, however, he continued to sign Rembrandt van Rijn (occasionally van Rhyn), initially with the addition of the patronymic 'Harmensz.'. This was no doubt in imitation of the great Italians such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian, on whom he modelled himself, sometimes literally. He certainly equalled them in fame, and not only in his own country. His name still symbolizes a whole period of art history rightfully known as 'Holland's Golden Age'. In 1970-71 a great exhibition in Paris was devoted to it under the eloquent title Le Si?cle de Rembrandt. A century before, a popular work of cultural history by C. Busken Huet referred to the Netherlands as 'the land of Rembrandt'. His fame is partly due to his multi-faceted talent. Frans Hals was perhaps at times a greater virtuoso with the brush but remained 'only' a portrait painter. Vermeer may have excelled Rembrandt in the art of illusion but was less prolific. Rembrandt was not only a gifted painter but also an inspired graphic artist: he has probably never been surpassed as an etcher, and he often seems inimitable as a draughtsman. His subjects reflect his manifold talent and interests. He painted, drew and etched portraits, landscapes, figures and animals, but, above all, scenes of biblical and secular history and mythology.