Auction of a Rembrandt Painting
A crowd bids on a painting by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn at a London auction at Sotheby's in 1966.
Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic
On July 15, 1606, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in Leiden, Dutch Republic (now the Netherlands). Rembrandt, the son of a miller, gained fame as a painter and etcher. His series of self-portraits and innovative use of muted light have made Rembrandt one of the leading “Old Masters” of European art.
Rembrandt painted at a pivotal period in European society. For one of the first times in history, large group portraits were not only commissioned by churches and the class aristocracy. The growing Dutch merchant class was beautifully depicted in such Rembrandt works as "The Syndics of the Draper’s Guild" (where well-dressed men inspect dyed cloth), "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp" (showing a group listening to a lecture around a corpse), and, most famously, "The Night Watch," in which a militia group marches past onlookers.
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