Most famous for his biblical scenes, self-portraits, and use of shadow and light, Rembrandt was an etcher and painter who lived during the 17th century. Rembrandt was born in 1606 in Leiden, Netherlands and studied under Jacob van Swaneburgh, who taught him his fundamental artistic skills and is believed to have influenced Rembrandt’s later works, as well as Pieter Lastman. Lastman is thought to have assisted Rembrandt in mastering historical painting, such as the placement of biblical, historical, and symbolic figures in intricate scenes.
In 1625, he returned to Leiden and began deconstructing Lastman’s compositions and reconstructing them as his own. His paintings during this period were richly detailed with symbolic and religious themes. This is also when he developed an innovative use of light and darkness (called chiaroscuro). In 1628, he started working with students. In the 1630s, he moved to Amsterdam, married, and painted several commissioned pieces. However, in the 1640s, his work took on a more contemplative look, thought to be because of the death of his wife. The Night Watch, dated 1642, is considered to mark the end of career.
Some of his most famous works include Saint Paul in Prison (1627), The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (1632), and The Nightwatch (1642).