REMBRANDT HOUSE, HISTORY

Audio File length: 2.27
English / USA Language: English / USA

Hi, my name’s Marcy, and I’m your personal guide. Along with MyWoWo, I’d like to welcome you to one of the Wonders of the World: the Rembrandt House Museum.

 

The house where Rembrandt lived in Amsterdam takes visitors on a journey through the art and the private life of the great painter.

Born in Leiden, Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631, where he soon earned a reputation as a talented portrait artist, able to bring an original touch to any subject.

In Amsterdam, he met and married Saskia, a cousin of his housemate. The couple first moved to a rented apartment, and later, in 1639, decided to buy an entire building in what was becoming the Jewish neighborhood, although Rembrandt’s mother was Catholic and his father a Calvinist Protestant.

He chose a particularly large, attractive building, designed by the architect Jacob van Campen, with rooms for his apprentices and models. It also represented a residence worthy of the social rank he had attained, with plenty of room for his collections.

Their new home did not bring the couple good fortune, and just two years later, in 1642, Saskia died of tuberculosis after giving birth to their fourth child, Titus; the three children before him had all died in infancy.

In addition, this luxurious building was above Rembrandt’s means. Although he was one of the highest-paid artists of the time, and he supplemented his income with private lessons, he spent beyond his means, especially on the purchase of Asian art objects and prints, precious stones and historical objects. He thus fell heavily into debt, which he was unable to pay off, and was declared bankrupt in 1656.

After a series of court cases lasting several years, Rembrandt was forced to auction off all his assets and, in 1660, he had to leave his home and move to a modest house on the Rozengracht, in the Jordaan neighborhood.

 

 

An interesting fact: Rembrandt’s economic problems were worsened by his relationship with his son’s nanny, who took him to court for breach of promise after she claimed he had promised to marry her, obtaining an allowance of two hundred guilders a year from him.

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