Simon Schama's Power of Art

Born to a family of millers in Leiden, Rembrandt left university at 14 to pursue a career as an artist. The decision turned out to be a good one since after serving his apprenticeship in Amsterdam he was singled out by Constantijn Huygens, the most influential patron in Holland. Rembrandt's success in his early years was as a portrait painter to the rich denizens of Amsterdam at a time when the city was being transformed from a small nondescript port into the economic capital of the world. His historical and religious paintings also gave him wide acclaim.

Despite being known as a portrait painter Rembrandt used his talent to push the boundaries of painting. This direction made him unpopular in the later years of his career as he shifted from being the talk of the town to becoming adrift in the Amsterdam art scene and criticised by his peers. (from

Rembrandt van Rijn

Related Links
Rembrandt van Rijn
This is a collection of eBooks and films about the Dutch painter and etcher Rembrandt van Rijn, generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art.
Great Artists with Tim Marlow: Rembrandt van Rijn
Tim Marlow examines the life and works of the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, featuring some of Rembrandt's works such as Self-Portrait, The Anatomy Lesson of Doctor Nicolaes Tulp, and The Night Watch.
Private Life of a Masterpiece: The Night Watch
Why should a painting of a group of part-time Amsterdam militiamen, dressed up for an occasion that wasn't serious anyway, have become the most revered painting in Holland? The full story of Rembrandt's masterpiece.

Go to Simon Schama's Power of Art Home or watch other episodes:

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Rembrandt van Rijn
Jacques-Louis David
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Vincent Van Gogh
Pablo Picasso
Mark Rothko