The boy could paint. There’s no doubt about it.
And today is his birthday. One of my favorite artists of all time. Rembrandt. His full name was Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. Personally, I am glad we decided to refer to him by his first name, because Harmenszoon is a little uncooperative when it comes off the tongue. It sounds like a cross between some terrible tropical storm and a villain from Marvel Comics.
Anyway, he was born in the Netherlands. A Dutch Boy. On July 15, 1606. He was, by the art-world standards, one of the greatest painters and print makers in history. And certainly, the most important painter in Dutch history. They called that period the Dutch Golden Age — due largely to the great amount of wealth and cultural achievement which occurred during that time.
He was an innovator in his style. In many ways, his artistic contributions were quite distinct from the “Baroque” style that was prevalent in Europe at the same time. Many different genres of painting sprung up as a result of Rembrandt’s influence.
From the time I was a little girl, I marveled at his paintings. There was a library book that one of my siblings brought home. They must have had to do some sort of report for school. Anyway, it contained paintings of the “Masters.” I can remember laying on my belly on the living room floor, and flipping through those pages. Rembrandt was my number one guy. I can also remember seeing my first “real” painting of his in Chicago. I stood there and my eyes started to well up, making it difficult to see the darn painting. So I snapped out of it.
His life. It was a bit sad. He loved to paint but he also loved to buy other people’s paintings. He lived way beyond his means. In 1656, he declared he was insolvent. He also lost a few children to early deaths. He painted some of them in their illnesses. And then. He died. On October 4, 1669, and was buried as a poor man. He was laid in an unknown grave, there in the Netherlands. It was in a numbered ‘kerkgraf’ (grave owned by the church). And then. After twenty years, his remains were taken away and destroyed. This was a customary practice with the remains of poor people at the time.
I probably write about him every year, as he is truly one of my favorites. So. My apologies. To make it up to you all, I will let you know that today is National Tapioca Pudding Day. I truly liked Tapioca Pudding when I used to eat sweets. But not absolutely “crazy” about it, like I am Rembrandt.
And another. Today is also National Get out of the Doghouse Day. I am frequently in the doghouse, so this is a good one for me. And not because I was merely visiting the dogs. Most likely for other reasons, like moving something I shouldn’t have moved. It is all about aesthetics for me. I think it comes from staring at Harmenszoon Paintings from a very early age.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. Confucius
Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them. David Hume
Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.