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Rembrandt

Biographical Information

Please note:

  • The information below is based on: J. Bruyn e.a., A corpus of Rembrandt paintings, dl. 1-4 (1982-2005).
  • Document numbers refer to: W.L. Strauss and M. van der Meulen, The Rembrandt documents, New York 1979.
  • Links give access to more information (in Dutch) on the website of the Amsterdam City Archives (Stadsarchief Amsterdam), along with a presentation of the original documents and their transcriptions.
  • A complete overview of all primary documents that relate to the life and works of Rembrandt, produced in the 15th to 18th centuries, is being build by the Radboud University Nijmegen, in partnership with the Rembrandt House Museum and the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands at www.remdoc.org. The Rembrandt Database and The Rembrandt Documents projects are currently exploring the possibilities for making the information and documentation in both resources available to scholars in an integrated way.


15 July 1606 There is no official record of Rembrandt’s birth. His birth in Leiden on 15 July 1606 is recorded by Jan Jansz. Orlers in the second edition of his Beschrijvinge der Stadt Leyden, Leiden 1641 (doc.1606/1 and 1641/8). Other 17th-century documents confirm the date to within a few years. They point to 1605/1606 (14 years old in May 1620: doc. 1620/1)), 1606/1607 (24 years old in 1631: doc. 1631/6)) and 1607/1608 (26 years old in 1634: doc. 1634/2).


c. 1614-1620 According to Orlers, Rembrandt attended the Latin School in Leiden (doc.1641/8).


20 May 1620 Enrolled as a student at Leiden University (doc. 1620/1)


c. 1620 -1623 According to Orlers, Rembrandt had no scientific leanings, and his parents were obliged to take him away from school. They apprenticed him to the Leiden painter Jacob Isaacsz. van Swanenburgh, with whom he stayed for some three years (1641/8).


c. 1623-1625 According to Orlers, he worked for about six months with Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. Subsequently he set up his own studio, apparently in Leiden (doc. 1641/8), in all probability in 1625, the year of his first signed and dated painting, The stoning of S Stephen (Lyon, Musée des Beaux-Arts).


1631 Several documents indicate that he was still in Leiden during the first half of 1631 (doc. 1631/2, 4). From the appearance of the date 1631 on a portrait of an Amsterdam sitter (Portrait of Nicolaes Ruts, New York, The Frick Collection) it may be assumed that Rembrandt moved his activities to Amsterdam during the second half of 1631.


1631-1635 According to documents from 1632 and early 1635, Rembrandt stayed initially in the house of Hendrick Uylenburgh in de Breestraat at the St. Anthoniesluis in Amsterdam (doc. 1632/2 en 1635/1).


10 June 1634 The announcement of the marriage of Rembrandt and Saskia Uylenburgh


2 July 1634 Marriage of Rembrandt and Saskia Uylenburgh (1612-1642) in St Annaparochie Friesland (doc. 1634/5)


1634 Funeral token of the Guild of S. Luke engraved recto: escutcheon with three blank shields surmounted by the date 1634 and verso: Rembrant / Hermans / S (Amsterdam, Museum Het Rembrandthuis). This token shows that in 1634 Rembrandt was a member of the Guild of S. Luke. Only those registered as citizens of Amsterdam were eligible for membership of this guild.


1636 At the beginning of 1636 Rembrandt appears to have moved to the Nieuwe Doelenstraat, next door to the city secretary Boreel (doc. 1636/1).


5 January 1639 Rembrandt signs the deed of purchase for a house on the St. Anthoniebreestraat. Completion is to be on 1 May (doc. 1639/1).


22 September 1641 Baptism of Rembrandt’s son Titus in the Zuiderkerk (doc. 1641/4)


5 June 1642 Saskia's last will (doc. 1642/2)


14 June 1642 Death of Saskia (doc. 1642/3)


19 June 1642 Saskia is buried in the Oude Kerk (doc. 1642/4).


Before November 1647 At the request of Saskia’s relatives, Rembrandt prepares an inventory of the goods that the couple jointly possessed on the day that she died (doc. 1647/6). This document, which was drawn up privately and has not survived, is referred to in a later deposition (doc. 1659/12).


1649 conflict between Rembrandt and Geertje Dircx (doc. 1649/ 3, 4, 6-9).


25 June 1654 The council of the Reformed Church deliberates on whether Hendrickje Stoffels has been living in unwedded cohabitation with Rembrandt the painter. She must appear before the council in eight days (doc.1654/11).


16 July 1654 Hendrickje Stoffels is summoned for the third time, but does not appear. She will be called to account for her conduct (doc. 1654/14).


23 July 1654 Hendrickje Stoffels appears before the church council and admits to having committed ‘hoererij’ (unwedded cohabitation) with Rembrandt. She is admonished and denied from the Lord’s Supper (doc. 1654/15).


30 October 1654 Cornelia, the daughter of Hendrickje Stoffels and Rembrandt, is baptized in the Oude Kerk (doc. 1654/18).


24 November 1655 Titus draws up his will (doc.1655/6).


14 July 1656 Rembrandt makes it known that due to losses suffered in business as well as damage and losses at sea he faced with financial problems. Since he cannot possibly pay his creditors, he applies to the Court of Holland for cessio bonorum (doc. 1656/10).


26 July 1656 Hendrick Torquinius is appointed trustee of Rembrandt’s estate by the commissioners of the Desolate Boedelkamer (doc. 1656/11).


25 – 26 July 1656 Frans Bruijningh, secretary of the Desolate Boedelkamer, draws up an inventory of the paintings together with the furniture and household goods in the estate of Rembrandt van Rijn (doc. 1656/12).


30 October 1657 Titus revokes his previous wills and makes his half-sister Cornelia van Rijn his heir to all (doc. 1657/5)


22 November 1657 Titus draws up a new will (doc. 1657/8)


1 February 1658-13 January 1659 Rembrandt’s house in the St. Anthonisbreestraat is sold as part of his estate. After the first buyer fails to provide security, the house is bought for 11.218 guilders by the shoemaker Lieven Symonsz (doc. 1658/3 and 4).


1658 A later agreement between Titus and Hendrickje Stoffels shows that in 1658 they established an art dealing business in which Rembrandt participated (see 15 December 1660).


1659 At the request of Titus’ guardian Louis Crayers, various persons make depositions which will serve to determine the amount of Titus’ inheritance (doc. 1659/11-14, 16-21)


March 1659 Rembrandt acknowledges a debt of 1200 guilders to the merchant Lodewijck van Ludick (doc. 1659/15).


15 December 1660 Titus, assisted by his father, and Hendrickje Stoffels declared that they had to trade in paintings, works on paper, curiosities and all related items, which they began doing jointly more than two years ago and agree to continue until Rembrandt’s death and for six years thereafter (Strauss/Van der Meulen 1660/20).


20 October 1661 In a statement made by ‘juffre.’ Hendrickje Stoffels, she is described as ‘huysvrouwe van sr. Rembrant van Reyn, fijnschilder’ [wife of ‘signeur’ Rembrandt van Rijn, master painter] (doc. 1661/12)


24 July 1663 Hendrickje Stoffels is buried in the Westerkerk, Amsterdam (doc. 1663/4)


28 February 1668 Titus van Rijn and Magdalena van Loo are married


7 September 1668 Titus is buried


22 March 1669 Titia, daughter of Titus and Magdalena van Loo, is baptized in the Nieuwezijds Kapel (doc.1669/1).


4 October 1669 Rembrandt dies (doc. 1669/4). The funeral took place four days later in the Westerkerk (doc. 1669/6).


5 October 1669 A notary calls at the home of the deceased Rembrandt on the Rozengracht and draws up an inventory of the estate consisting of household effects and clothing. The remaining property such as paintings, drawings, curiosities, antiques and other objects are punt in three separate rooms and not specified (doc. 1669/5).

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