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The Eighth Boy Named By Rembrandt - Great And Terrible
The Eighth Boy Named By Rembrandt - Great And Terrible

Video: The Eighth Boy Named By Rembrandt - Great And Terrible

Video: The Eighth Boy Named By Rembrandt - Great And Terrible
Video: Русский Голливуд / Russian Hollywood (English subs) 2023, March

The ancient Roman proverb "About the dead, or good, or in any way" does not apply to the biographies of great people. Their life and work should be studied closely and evaluated comprehensively. For the benefit of new generations

A man of lower society and high flight


Self-portrait at the age of 23

Dutch painter, draftsman and etcher Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606–1669) was lucky with his parents, who did not interfere with the development of his talent in painting. Since childhood, he had a passion more for drawing than for other subjects, and therefore in the "Latin school" he studied poorly and for a short time. Science was of little interest to the talented boy: he was inevitably attracted to painting.

This riddle of an innate craving for a certain type of activity or art has always interested psychologists, especially since the origin of Rembrandt in no way explains the nature of his talent

In 1631, the young artist moved to Amsterdam, where he quickly became famous and found love. A marriage with Saskia van Eilenbürch opened the doors of the mansions of wealthy burghers, among whom was her father, Mayor Leeuwarden. The artist's surplus of vitality during the happy years of his marriage with Saskia is expressed with the greatest passion in the painting The Prodigal Son in a Tavern (1635). Rembrandt was used to surrounding himself with beautiful surroundings, since his own income and Saskia's fortune allowed him such a luxury.


Rembrandt and Saskia in the painting "The Prodigal Son in a Tavern" (1635)

His personality was characterized as follows: “… a beggar seeker of wealth, a lover of disguise, an erudite, hoarding unnecessary things, a man of low society and high flight, … a nature woven of contrasts, contradictions and ambiguities, strong feeling and little eloquent, loving, but not very kind, unlucky and happily gifted …”(E. Fromentin, 1966).

After the birth of her fourth child, thirty-year-old Saskia, with whom Harmenszoon van Rijn lived "in perfect harmony", died of tuberculosis. And the artist's life began a period of continuous personal loss

Prohibition of remarriage

Gradually chaos began in family and financial affairs, which ended in ruin. Misfortunes followed one after another. First, a scandalous story came to light with Geertier Dirks, the nanny of the only surviving son of Titus, who, being the artist's mistress for six years, filed a lawsuit against him that he had promised, and now does not want to marry her. But according to Saskia's will, in the event of remarriage, Rembrandt lost the right to inheritance. To settle this incident, he had to fork out.

Because of the same condition, another chosen one did not become his wife, the model Hendrickje Stoffels, who entered Rembrandt as a servant to take care of her little son. Her image is depicted in many portrait works: "Flora" (1654), "Bathing woman" (1654), "Hendrickje at the window" (1655). The vigilant parish council severely condemned the young woman for "sinful cohabitation" when she gave birth to Rembrandt's daughter Cornelia.

Despite an active creative life, in 1656 Rembrandt was declared bankrupt. The fact is that his artistic searches were not understood and appreciated by his contemporaries, orders gradually came to naught, debts accumulated imperceptibly, influential friends disappeared


"Night Watch" (1642)

The biographer believes that "… the artist, protected by patronage and the guild system, was in no way threatened by a poor old age, unless, of course, he tries to go broke on … antiquities and drinking, like Rembrandt" (Lekure M.-A., 2002). Apparently, there is some truth in this assumption. It was these “strange” years that became the most fruitful in the artist's life, when he created his main masterpieces.

Rembrandt's workshop is empty

Whatever the reasons for the cooling of the Amsterdam public towards the master, the change in tastes caused the fading of his fame and led to a gradual impoverishment. After the creation of the "Night Watch", only a few students remain in the workshop. His former apprentices, having borrowed and developed any one feature, become more successful and in demand than their teacher. The artist tried to continue to live "in grand style" as before. The late Saskia's family expressed serious concern over how he manages his wife's dowry; this conflict also had to be settled for a long time.


The Return of the Prodigal Son (1666-1669, Hermitage)

The contemporary critic AP Lewandovsky gives Rembrandt a not very pleasant description: “As a person, he is by no means a decoration of society, but rather an outcast. He is greedy, greedy, stingy, he has the soul of a merchant; and at the same time he is reckless, disorderly in his spending, does not know how to live within his means, goes bankrupt, cannot get out of debt, in which he ultimately drowns. At the same time, he is full of oddities, manic hobbies, even vices …

He is constantly rebellious, quarrelsome and suspicious, has no friends, no admirers, no patrons, and, naturally, on the days of official ceremonies and celebrations, he is forgotten. He is poorly educated and not well-read; he left the university, barely enrolling in it, and later there was not a single book in his house."

Another critic adds: "Rembrandt was characterized by such signs as carelessness, a tendency to waste, lack of practical thinking, indifference to material values, gathering mania, daydreaming, isolation, unsociability."

The path to longing and loneliness

In 1656 the artist was declared an insolvent debtor, and his property was auctioned off for a pittance. He moves to a more modest home in the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam. In 1663, the unmarried wife of Rembrandt Hendrickje dies. From that time on, "Rembrandt's path lay towards longing and loneliness." How to explain that around him, for more than twenty years in a row, fate has struck the younger? In 1668 - seven months after his wedding - his son Titus also died of tuberculosis.

Despite grief and hardship, Rembrandt continues to work hard and unusually fruitful, creating the greatest works of art. In the sixties, due to deteriorating eyesight, he almost stopped etching, concentrating mainly on drawing with a reed pen.

Gradually, prosperity began to appear in the secluded dwelling of the genius, a circle of friends gathered around him again. “But, without a doubt, the first step towards rapprochement was not made by Rembrandt. He knew his worth; after his downfall, he quietly, without complaints and complaints, retired to his world …"

Self-portraits tell about diagnoses

The great artist painted more than 75 self-portraits, which can be used to trace his age-related changes. “In the last self-portraits, rhinophyma, which is often found in the tertiary stage of syphilis, is noticeable, a bloated swelling of the nose … He probably endured bouts of melancholy and depressive episodes, bouts of severe irritability. Cyclic periods of working capacity were temporarily replaced by decreased activity, as it usually happens with paralysis "(Plesch J., 1952). The modern psychiatrist OG Vilensky confirms that "already in a relatively old age the artist showed signs of a serious mental illness, which led to his gradual degradation."

According to the canvases-self-portraits, the artist and biographer IV Dolgopolov believed, “it is possible to trace his whole life along with a change in his writing style and, most importantly, to study the drama of fate. Here biographers should be jubilant. The whole fabric of the master's life is in front of them."

The ambitions that arose at a young age were enough for Rembrandt, who tried to compete with the leading painters of Europe for many years. In one of his letters, he wrote: “What I want and try to do is so beyond the ordinary that I am either great or ridiculous. Either I'm the new Michelangelo or the donkey. There can be no middle way. "

The painter worked constantly. “Even when he went for a walk or out of town, to his friends, he always had a small supply of engraving boards in his pocket. Whether he was struck by an interesting type or liked the picturesque landscape, he immediately took up the chisel - and his album was enriched with a new sketch”(Kalinina A., 1993).

We are once again faced with an innate artistic talent. Characteristic is the striving of a genius towards a goal that no one but him sees. Rembrandt had affective fluctuations as well as personality disorders due to an unspecified disorder. The assumption of progressive paralysis can only be hypothetical.

Presumptive diagnosis: affective fluctuations with a gradual increase in dysthymia; personality disorders due to an unspecified brain disorder.


  1. Vilensky O. G. Psychiatry. Social aspects. M.: Cognitive book plus, 2002.
  2. Dekarg P. Rembrandt / Transl. with French E. V. Kolodochkina. M.: Young Guard, 2000.
  3. Dolgopolov I. V. Masters and masterpieces. In six volumes. T. 1 / Introduction by Y. Nagibin. M.: TERRA, 2000.
  4. Kalinina A. Rembrandt // Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo. Raphael. Rembrandt. Biographical sketches / Ed. entry Art. L. A. Anninsky. M.: Respublika, 1993. S. 253–319.
  5. Lewandowski A. P. King of Painters or Painter of Kings? // Lekure M.-A. Rubens. M.: Molodaya gvardiya, 2002. S. 6-16.
  6. Lekure M.-A. Rubens / Per. with French E. V. Golovina; foreword A. P. Lewandovsky. M.: Young Guard, 2002.
  7. Fromantin E. Old Masters / Translator G. Kepinov. M.: Soviet artist, 1966.
  8. Schmitt G. Rembrandt / Transl. from English P. V. Melkova. M.: Art, 1970.
  9. Plesch J. Rembrandt im Rembrandt. Basel: Holbein-Verlag, 1952.

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