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THE
R
EMBRANDT
R
ESEARCH COMMITTEE
Pioneers in Digital Research and Attribution

THE REMBRANDT VAN RIJN ABRIDGED BIOGRAPHY
ART STUDIES IN AMSTERDAM, CHAPTER V

"...the magical depth created through the interplay of light and shadow." By the time Rembrandt was seventeen or eighteen, he had absorbed everything possible from Jacob van Swanenburgh. Rembrandt had shown such promise as an artist that his parents allowed for him to move to Amsterdam to study with Pieter Lastman.
    Peter Lastman was, at the time, probably the most learned and famous artist in Holland, rivalled only by Cornelisz van Haarlem. Lastman, like Jacob van Swanenburgh, had studied in Italy. However, unlike, van Swanenburgh, Lastman benefited from his Italian studies.
    Lastman was especially impressed by the works of
Caravaggio and developed a style that focused on the outstanding qualities of Caravaggio: bold naturalism; dramatic power; and the magical depth created through the interplay of light and shadow.
    Further,
Adam Elsheimer, a German painter who lived in Rome, influenced Lastman. Like Lastman, Caravaggio had impacted Elsheimer. However, not in keeping with the paintings of Caravaggio, Elsheimer made small, highly detailed paintings, most of which were landscapes. Elsheimer was a master at creating exquisite daylight and nocturnal effects.
    Lastman’s impact on Rembrandt was profound. Lastman painted animated compositions that were noted for their fresh colours. These compositions made a deep impression on his talented pupil. Rembrandt, also, made drawings after some of Lastman’s works which he later used for his own compositions and paintings.
    It is, additionally, apparent from his portraits dated 1630 to 1631, that Rembrandt gleaned a great deal from the famous portrait painters of Amsterdam of the day. Rembrandt’s early portraits are often very close in style to the work of
Cornelis van der Voort and of Thomas de Keyzer. Clearly, the influence of Sir Anthony van Dyck is also evident.
    Rembrandt’s tenure in Amsterdam with Lastman was very brief and lasted a short six months. Still, this apprenticeship with Lastman proved of very great importance in the development of Rembrandt’s success as a painter. From Lastman Rembrandt learned the use of bright, glossy colours. Furthermore, Lastman encouraged Rembrandt to become a painter of history, which was not a popular subject matter of the time. Rembrandt not only started to paint historical subjects but, also, started to paint them with fervour. In fact, Rembrandt did not paint a commissioned portrait until he was established in his career for at least six years. His preoccupation was always with history and especially the Scriptures.
"Rembrandt did not paint a commis- sioned portrait until he was established in his career for at least six years."

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