Veritus Ltd.
All rights reserved

Catalogue  |  Biography  |  Contact  |  Home

Rembrandt Committee logo

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

THE REMBRANDT VAN RIJN ABRIDGED BIOGRAPHY
PERSONAL TRAGEDIES, CHAPTER VIII

"...although Rembrandt, who was known for his excessive lifestyle, spent the greater portion of Titus’s share." On the personal level, Rembrandt’s life was marked time and time again by misfortune. He had enjoyed good financial success, which allowed him to move in the spring of 1639 with Saskia into a large house in Saint Anthonisbreestraat. He had, by this time, attained much renown and was noted for his boundless energy and creative vigour. Yet, his life was troubled.
    Between 1635 and 1641 Saskia gave birth to four children. Only the fourth, a son, Titus, survived. Then in 1642, adding even greater dismay into his life, Saskia died. It had been a mere three years since Rembrandt, Saskia and Titus had moved into their fine home,. Titus was still a baby. Saskia’s fortune was divided in equal parts between Titus and Rembrandt, although Rembrandt, who was known for his excessive lifestyle, spent the greater portion of Titus’s share. Rembrandt was 36 at this time, and by the standards of the day approaching middle age.
    To care for Titus, Rembrandt brought into his home, Geertje Dircx, the widow of a popular musician. Geertje became very fond of Titus and bequeathed to Titus in her will dated 1648 her small possessions that included some of Saskia’s jewellery which Rembrandt had given to her. Then a quarrel broke out between Geertje and Rembrandt, and Geertje left Rembrandt’s home. A court battle ended with Geertje being committed for twelve years to the bridewell at Gouda. Through the assistance of friends, Geertje was able to effect her release within five years.
    Coming to Rembrandt’s defence at this time was another woman, Hendrickje Stoffels. Hendrickje wrote an affidavit confirming that Rembrandt had offered to pay Geertje a lump sum and an annual allowance for life with the understanding that Geertje would keep in force her endowment to Titus in her will.
    As the relationship between Rembrandt and Hendrickje began to grow, Rembrandt brought Hendrickje into his household and employed her as a maid. She was twenty years his younger. Hendrickje was a simple, gentlewoman who related well to a man who was becoming more and more troubled as the years passed. Hendrickje quickly and clearly supplanted Geertje. Through the years, Hendrickje became Rembrandt’s devoted companion and served him in every way as a wife, except in name. Rembrandt never officially married her.
    While in her early twenties, Hendrickje bore to Rembrandt two illegitimate children. Hendrickje was summoned before the church council and was severely punished for fornication with Rembrandt. She was excluded from the Lord’s supper. The first child died in infancy. Rembrandt named the second, a daughter, Cornelia in memory of his two daughters by Saskia who had not survived. This child survived both Rembrandt and Hendrickje. Hendrickje was always devoted to Rembrandt and remained with him until her death at age 37 in 1663.
    During this troubled period, Rembrandt worked with his students in his studio. Together they created many portraits, both paintings that were officially commissioned and studies of friends of the master. A sensitive, serene style that expressed the sincerity of every day life was portrayed. No longer were sitters painted wearing the elaborate costumes of the day. Instead, they were portrayed as bright and warm images through the use of gentle brushstrokes that generated a radiance in lighting. Intimacy was expressed with an inner grandeur and softness. Rembrandt taught his students the importance of portraying humanity in every setting.
 
"Hendrickje was a simple, gentlewoman who related well to a man who was becoming more and more troubled as the years passed."
"During this troubled period, Rembrandt worked with his students in his studio."

© 1995-2018, All rights reserved

If you have any technical problems with this site, please contact the

This site is being constantly updated and expanded,
it was last modified : 7 May 2016