Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area; the city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of 8.1 million. Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, as a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for trade. In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built.
The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since the annexation of the municipality of Sloten in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, the oldest historic part of the city lies in Sloten, dating to the 9th century; as the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha- world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. The city is the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, including Philips, AkzoNobel, TomTom and ING. Many of the world's largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as leading technology companies Uber and Tesla. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer; the city was ranked 4th place globally as top tech hub in the Savills Tech Cities 2019 report, 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009.
The Port of Amsterdam to this day remains the second in the country, the fifth largest seaport in Europe. Famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, philosopher Baruch Spinoza; the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre. Amsterdam's main attractions include its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the Scheepvaartmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Natura Artis Magistra, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NEMO, the red-light district and many cannabis coffee shops, they draw more than 5 million international visitors annually. The city is well known for its nightlife and festival activity, it is one of the world's most multicultural cities, with at least 177 nationalities represented. After the floods of 1170 and 1173, locals near the river Amstel built a bridge over the river and a dam across it, giving its name to the village: "Aemstelredamme".
The earliest recorded use of that name is in a document dated 27 October 1275, which exempted inhabitants of the village from paying bridge tolls to Count Floris V. This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges and dams; the certificate describes the inhabitants. By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam. Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen and Utrecht. In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century; this does not mean that there was a settlement since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, for use as fuel. Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306. From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished from trade with the Hanseatic League. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith.
The Miracle devotion was kept alive. In the 19th century after the jubilee of 1845, the devotion was revitalized and became an important national point of reference for Dutch Catholics; the Stille Omgang—a silent walk or procession in civil attire—is the expression of the pilgrimage within the Protestant Netherlands since the late 19th century. In the heyday of the Silent Walk, up to 90,000 pilgrims came to Amsterdam. In the 21st century this has reduced to about 5000. In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of his successors; the main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, the religious persecution of Protestants by the newly introduced Inquisition. The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which led to Dutch independence. Pushed by Dutch Revolt leader William the Silent, the Dutch Republic became known for its relative religious tolerance. Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, economic and religious refugees
Baroque architecture is the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late 16th-century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion to express the triumph of the Catholic Church. It was characterized by new explorations of form and shadow, dramatic intensity. Common features of Baroque architecture included gigantism of proportions. Whereas the Renaissance drew on the wealth and power of the Italian courts and was a blend of secular and religious forces, the Baroque was at least, directly linked to the Counter-Reformation, a movement within the Catholic Church to reform itself in response to the Protestant Reformation. Baroque architecture and its embellishments were on the one hand more accessible to the emotions and on the other hand, a visible statement of the wealth and power of the Catholic Church; the new style manifested itself in particular in the context of the new religious orders, like the Theatines and the Jesuits who aimed to improve popular piety.
Lutheran Baroque art, such as the example of Dresden Frauenkirche, developed as a confessional marker of identity, in response to the Great Iconoclasm of Calvinists. The architecture of the High Roman Baroque can be assigned to the papal reigns of Urban VIII, Innocent X and Alexander VII, spanning from 1623 to 1667; the three principal architects of this period were the sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and the painter Pietro da Cortona and each evolved his own distinctively individual architectural expression. Dissemination of Baroque architecture to the south of Italy resulted in regional variations such as Sicilian Baroque architecture or that of Naples and Lecce. To the north, the Theatine architect Camillo-Guarino Guarini, Bernardo Vittone and Sicilian born Filippo Juvarra contributed Baroque buildings to the city of Turin and the Piedmont region. A synthesis of Bernini and Cortona's architecture can be seen in the late Baroque architecture of northern Europe, which paved the way for the more decorative Rococo style.
By the middle of the 17th century, the Baroque style had found its secular expression in the form of grand palaces, first in France—with the Château de Maisons near Paris by François Mansart—and throughout Europe. During the 17th century, Baroque architecture spread through Europe and Latin America, where it was promoted by the Jesuits. Michelangelo's late Roman buildings St. Peter's Basilica, may be considered precursors to Baroque architecture, his pupil Giacomo della Porta continued this work in Rome in the façade of the Jesuit church Il Gesù, which leads directly to the most important church façade of the early Baroque, Santa Susanna, by Carlo Maderno. Distinctive features of Baroque architecture can include: in churches, broader naves and sometimes given oval forms fragmentary or deliberately incomplete architectural elements dramatic use of light. Colonialism required the development of centralized and powerful governments with Spain and France, the first to move in this direction. Colonialism brought in huge amounts of wealth, not only in the silver, extracted from the mines in Bolivia and elsewhere, but in the resultant trade in commodities, such as sugar and tobacco.
The need to control trade routes and slavery, which lay in the hands of the French during the 17th century, created an endless cycle of wars between the colonial powers: the French religious wars, the Thirty Years' War, Franco–Spanish War, the Franco-Dutch War, so on. The initial mismanagement of colonial wealth by the Spaniards bankrupted them in the 16th century, recovering only in the following century; this explains why the Baroque style, though enthusiastically developed throughout the Spanish Empire, was to a large extent, in Spain, an architecture of surfaces and façades, unlike in France and Austria, where we see the construction of numerous huge palaces and monasteries. In contrast to Spain, the French, under Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the minister of finance, had begun to industrialize their economy, thus, were able to become at least, the benefactors of the flow of wealth. While this was good for the building in
Dutch Golden Age painting
Dutch Golden Age painting is the painting of the Dutch Golden Age, a period in Dutch history spanning the 17th century and after the part of the Eighty Years' War for Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic was the most prosperous nation in Europe and led European trade and art; the northern Netherlandish provinces that made up the new state had traditionally been less important artistic centres than cities in Flanders in the south. The upheavals and large-scale transfers of population of the war, the sharp break with the old monarchist and Catholic cultural traditions, meant that Dutch art had to reinvent itself; the painting of religious subjects declined but a large new market for all kinds of secular subjects grew up. Although Dutch painting of the Golden Age is included in the general European period of Baroque painting, shows many of its characteristics, most lacks the idealization and love of splendour typical of much Baroque work, including that of neighbouring Flanders. Most work, including that for which the period is best known, reflects the traditions of detailed realism inherited from Early Netherlandish painting.
A distinctive feature of the period is the proliferation of distinct genres of paintings, with the majority of artists producing the bulk of their work within one of these. The full development of this specialization is seen from the late 1620s, the period from until the French invasion of 1672 is the core of Golden Age painting. Artists would spend most of their careers painting only portraits, genre scenes, landscapes and ships, or still lifes, a particular sub-type within these categories. Many of these types of subject were new in Western painting, the way the Dutch painted them in this period was decisive for their future development. A distinctive feature of the period, compared to earlier European painting, was the limited number of religious paintings. Dutch Calvinism forbade religious paintings in churches, though biblical subjects were acceptable in private homes few were produced; the other traditional classes of history and portrait painting were present, but the period is more notable for a huge variety of other genres, sub-divided into numerous specialized categories, such as scenes of peasant life, townscapes, landscapes with animals, maritime paintings, flower paintings and still lifes of various types.
The development of many of these types of painting was decisively influenced by 17th-century Dutch artists. The held theory of the "hierarchy of genres" in painting, whereby some types were regarded as more prestigious than others, led many painters to want to produce history painting; however this was the hardest to sell, as Rembrandt found. Many were forced to produce portraits or genre scenes. In descending order of status, the categories in the hierarchy were: history painting, including allegories and popular religious subjects. Portrait painting, including the tronie genre painting or scenes of everyday life landscape, including seascapes, battlescenes and ruins still lifeThe Dutch concentrated on the "lower" categories, but by no means rejected the concept of the hierarchy. Most paintings were small – the only common type of large paintings were group portraits. Painting directly onto walls hardly existed. For the extra precision possible on a hard surface, many painters continued to use wooden panels, some time after the rest of Western Europe had abandoned them.
In turn, the number of surviving Golden Age paintings was reduced by them being overpainted with new works by artists throughout the 18th and 19th century – poor ones were cheaper than a new canvas and frame. There was little Dutch sculpture during the period. Painted delftware tiles were cheap and common, if of high quality, but silver in the auricular style, led Europe. With this exception, the best artistic efforts were concentrated on printmaking. Foreigners remarked on the enormous quantities of art produced and the large fairs where many paintings were sold – it has been estimated that over 1.3 million Dutch pictures were painted in the 20 years after 1640 alone. The volume of production meant that prices were low, except for the best known artists; those without a strong contemporary reputation, or who had fallen out of fashion, including many now considered among the greatest of the period, such as Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt in his last years, had considerable problems earning a living, died poor.
In particular the French invasion of 1672, brought a severe depression to the art market, which never quite returned to earlier heights. The distribution of pictures was wide: "yea many tymes, cobblers etts. will have some picture or other by their Forge and in their stalle. Such is the generall Notion and delight that these Countrie Native have to Painting" reported an English traveller in 1640. There were for the first time many professional art dealers, several significant artists, like Vermeer and his father, Jan van
Chiaroscuro, in art, is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures. Similar effects in cinema and photography are called chiaroscuro. Further specialized uses of the term include chiaroscuro woodcut for coloured woodcuts printed with different blocks, each using a different coloured ink; the underlying principle is that solidity of form is best achieved by the light falling against it. Artists known for developing the technique include Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt, it is a mainstay of black and white and low-key photography. It is one of the modes of painting colour in Renaissance art. Artists well-known for their use of chiaroscuro include Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Goya; the term chiaroscuro originated during the Renaissance as drawing on coloured paper, where the artist worked from the paper's base tone toward light using white gouache, toward dark using ink, bodycolour or watercolour.
These in turn drew on traditions in illuminated manuscripts going back to late Roman Imperial manuscripts on purple-dyed vellum. Such works are called "chiaroscuro drawings", but may only be described in modern museum terminology by such formulae as "pen on prepared paper, heightened with white bodycolour". Chiaroscuro woodcuts began as imitations of this technique; when discussing Italian art, the term sometimes is used to mean painted images in monochrome or two colours, more known in English by the French equivalent, grisaille. The term broadened in meaning early on to cover all strong contrasts in illumination between light and dark areas in art, now the primary meaning; the more technical use of the term chiaroscuro is the effect of light modelling in painting, drawing, or printmaking, where three-dimensional volume is suggested by the value gradation of colour and the analytical division of light and shadow shapes—often called "shading". The invention of these effects in the West, "skiagraphia" or "shadow-painting" to the Ancient Greeks, traditionally was ascribed to the famous Athenian painter of the fifth century BC, Apollodoros.
Although few Ancient Greek paintings survive, their understanding of the effect of light modelling still may be seen in the late-fourth-century BC mosaics of Pella, Macedonia, in particular the Stag Hunt Mosaic, in the House of the Abduction of Helen, inscribed gnosis epoesen, or'knowledge did it'. The technique survived in rather crude standardized form in Byzantine art and was refined again in the Middle Ages to become standard by the early fifteenth-century in painting and manuscript illumination in Italy and Flanders, spread to all Western art. According to the theory of the art historian Marcia B. Hall, which has gained considerable acceptance, chiaroscuro is one of four modes of painting colours available to Italian High Renaissance painters, along with cangiante and unione; the Raphael painting illustrated, with light coming from the left, demonstrates both delicate modelling chiaroscuro to give volume to the body of the model, strong chiaroscuro in the more common sense, in the contrast between the well-lit model and the dark background of foliage.
To further complicate matters, the compositional chiaroscuro of the contrast between model and background would not be described using this term, as the two elements are completely separated. The term is used to describe compositions where at least some principal elements of the main composition show the transition between light and dark, as in the Baglioni and Geertgen tot Sint Jans paintings illustrated above and below. Chiaroscuro modelling is now taken for granted, but it has had some opponents, her Majesty... chose her place to sit for that purpose in the open alley of a goodly garden, where no tree was near, nor any shadow at all..."In drawings and prints, modelling chiaroscuro is achieved by the use of hatching, or shading by parallel lines. Washes, stipple or dotting effects, "surface tone" in printmaking are other techniques. Chiaroscuro woodcuts are old master prints in woodcut using two or more blocks printed in different colours, they were first produced to achieve similar effects to chiaroscuro drawings.
After some early experiments in book-printing, the true chiaroscuro woodcut conceived for two blocks was first invented by Lucas Cranach the Elder in Germany in 1508 or 1509, though he backdated some of his first prints and added tone blocks to some prints first produced for monochrome printing, swiftly followed by Hans Burgkmair the Elder. Despite Vasari's claim for Italian precedence in Ugo da Carpi, it is clear that his, the first Italian examples, date to around 1516 But other sources suggest, the first chiaroscuro woodcut to be the Triumph of Julius Caesar, created by Andrea Mantegna, an Italian painter, between 1470 and 1500. Another view states that: "Lucas Cranach backdated two of his works in an attempt to grab the glory" and that the technique was invented "in all probability" by Burgkmair "who was commissioned by the emperor Maximilian to find a c
David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is a 5.17-metre marble statue of the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. David was commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, but was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence, in the Piazza della Signoria where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504; the statue was moved to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence, in 1873, replaced at the original location by a replica. Because of the nature of the hero it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defence of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family; the eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome.
The history of the statue begins before Michelangelo's work on it from 1501 to 1504. Prior to Michelangelo's involvement, the Overseers of the Office of Works of Florence Cathedral, consisting of members of the influential woolen cloth guild, the Arte della Lana, had plans to commission a series of twelve large Old Testament sculptures for the buttresses of the cathedral. In 1410 Donatello made the first of a figure of Joshua in terracotta. A figure of Hercules in terracotta, was commissioned from the Florentine sculptor Agostino di Duccio in 1463 and was made under Donatello's direction. Eager to continue their project, in 1464, the Operai contracted Agostino to create a sculpture of David. A block of marble was provided from a quarry in Carrara, a town in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany. Agostino only got as far as beginning to shape the legs and the torso, roughing out some drapery and gouging a hole between the legs, his association with the project ceased, for reasons unknown, with the death of Donatello in 1466, ten years Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take up where Agostino had left off.
Rossellino's contract was terminated soon thereafter, the block of marble remained neglected for 26 years, all the while exposed to the elements in the yard of the cathedral workshop. This was of great concern to the Opera authorities, as such a large piece of marble not only was costly but represented a large amount of labour and difficulty in its transportation to Florence. In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as "a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine." A year documents showed that the Operai were determined to find an artist who could take this large piece of marble and turn it into a finished work of art. They ordered the block of stone, which they called The Giant, "raised on its feet" so that a master experienced in this kind of work might examine it and express an opinion. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was Michelangelo, only 26 years old, who convinced the Operai that he deserved the commission. On 16 August 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task.
He began carving the statue early in the morning on 13 September, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive statue for more than two years. On 25 January 1504, when the sculpture was nearing completion, Florentine authorities had to acknowledge there would be little possibility of raising the more than six-ton statue to the roof of the cathedral, they convened a committee of 30 Florentine citizens that comprised many artists, including Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli, to decide on an appropriate site for David. While nine different locations for the statue were discussed, the majority of members seem to have been split between two sites. One group, led by Giuliano da Sangallo and supported by Leonardo and Piero di Cosimo, among others, believed that, due to the imperfections in the marble, the sculpture should be placed under the roof of the Loggia dei Lanzi on Piazza della Signoria. Another opinion, supported by Botticelli, was that the sculpture should be situated on or near the cathedral.
In June 1504, David was installed next to the entrance to the Palazzo Vecchio, replacing Donatello's bronze sculpture of Judith and Holofernes, which embodied a comparable theme of heroic resistance. It took four days to move the statue the half mile from Michelangelo's workshop into the Piazza della Signoria; that summer the sling and tree-stump support were gilded, the figure was given a gilded loin-garland. In 1873, the statue of David was removed from the piazza, to protect it from damage, displayed in the Accademia Gallery, where it attracted many visitors. A replica was placed in the Piazza della Signoria in 1910. In 1991 Piero Cannata, an artist who the police described as deranged, attacked the statue with a hammer he had concealed beneath his jacket, he said that a 16th century Venetian painter's model ordered him to do so. Cannata was restrained. On 12 November 2010, a fiberglass replica of the David was installed on the roofline of Florence Cathedral, for one day only. Photographs of the installation reveal the statue the way the Operai who commissioned the work expected it to be seen.
In 2010, a dispute over the ownership of David arose when, based on a legal review of historical documents, the municipality of Florence claimed ownership of the statue in opposition to the Italian Culture Ministry, which disputes the munic
Landscape painting known as landscape art, is the depiction of landscapes in art – natural scenery such as mountains, trees and forests where the main subject is a wide view – with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works, landscape backgrounds for figures can still form an important part of the work. Sky is always included in the view, weather is an element of the composition. Detailed landscapes as a distinct subject are not found in all artistic traditions, develop when there is a sophisticated tradition of representing other subjects; the two main traditions spring from Western painting and Chinese art, going back well over a thousand years in both cases. The recognition of a spiritual element in landscape art is present from its beginnings in East Asian art, drawing on Daoism and other philosophical traditions, but in the West only becomes explicit with Romanticism. Landscape views in art may be imaginary, or copied from reality with varying degrees of accuracy.
If the primary purpose of a picture is to depict an actual, specific place including buildings prominently, it is called a topographical view. Such views common as prints in the West, are seen as inferior to fine art landscapes, although the distinction is not always meaningful; the word "landscape" entered the modern English language as landskip, an anglicization of the Dutch landschap, around the start of the 17th century, purely as a term for works of art, with its first use as a word for a painting in 1598. Within a few decades it was used to describe vistas in poetry, as a term for real views; however the cognate term landscaef or landskipe for a cleared patch of land had existed in Old English, though it is not recorded from Middle English. The earliest forms of art around the world depict little that could be called landscape, although ground-lines and sometimes indications of mountains, trees or other natural features are included; the earliest "pure landscapes" with no human figures are frescos from Minoan Greece of around 1500 BCE.
Hunting scenes those set in the enclosed vista of the reed beds of the Nile Delta from Ancient Egypt, can give a strong sense of place, but the emphasis is on individual plant forms and human and animal figures rather than the overall landscape setting. The frescos from the Tomb of Nebamun, now in the British Museum, are a famous example. For a coherent depiction of a whole landscape, some rough system of perspective, or scaling for distance, is needed, this seems from literary evidence to have first been developed in Ancient Greece in the Hellenistic period, although no large-scale examples survive. More ancient Roman landscapes survive, from the 1st century BCE onwards frescos of landscapes decorating rooms that have been preserved at archaeological sites of Pompeii and elsewhere, mosaics; the Chinese ink painting tradition of shan shui, or "pure" landscape, in which the only sign of human life is a sage, or a glimpse of his hut, uses sophisticated landscape backgrounds to figure subjects, landscape art of this period retains a classic and much-imitated status within the Chinese tradition.
Both the Roman and Chinese traditions show grand panoramas of imaginary landscapes backed with a range of spectacular mountains – in China with waterfalls and in Rome including sea, lakes or rivers. These were used, as in the example illustrated, to bridge the gap between a foreground scene with figures and a distant panoramic vista, a persistent problem for landscape artists; the Chinese style showed only a distant view, or used dead ground or mist to avoid that difficulty. A major contrast between landscape painting in the West and East Asia has been that while in the West until the 19th century it occupied a low position in the accepted hierarchy of genres, in East Asia the classic Chinese mountain-water ink painting was traditionally the most prestigious form of visual art. Aesthetic theories in both regions gave the highest status to the works seen to require the most imagination from the artist. In the West this was history painting, but in East Asia it was the imaginary landscape, where famous practitioners were, at least in theory, amateur literati, including several Emperors of both China and Japan.
They were also poets whose lines and images illustrated each other. In the 1830s the British inventor William Talbot creates the process of calotype and in 1844 he publishes the first book with photo illustrations: "The Pencil of Nature"Talbot, W. H. F.. The Pencil of Nature: in 6 parts. However, in the West, history painting came to require an extensive landscape background where appropriate, so the theory did not work against the development of landscape painting – for several centuries landscapes were promoted to the status of history painting by the addition of small figures to make a narrative scene religious or mythological. In early Western medieval art interest in landscape disappears entirely, kept alive only in copies of Late Antique works such as the Utrecht Psalter. A revival in interest in nature mainly manifested itself in depictions of small gardens such as the Hortus Conclusus or those in millefleur tapestries; the frescos of figures at work or pl
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch draughtsman and printmaker. An innovative and prolific master in three media, he is considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, Rembrandt's works depict a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes and historical scenes and mythological themes as well as animal studies, his contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art, although in many ways antithetical to the Baroque style that dominated Europe, was prolific and innovative, gave rise to important new genres. Like many artists of the Dutch Golden Age, such as Jan Vermeer of Delft, Rembrandt was an avid art collector and dealer. Rembrandt never went abroad, but he was influenced by the work of the Italian masters and Netherlandish artists who had studied in Italy, like Pieter Lastman, the Utrecht Caravaggists, Flemish Baroque Peter Paul Rubens.
Having achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, Rembrandt's years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. Yet his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters. Rembrandt's portraits of his contemporaries, self-portraits and illustrations of scenes from the Bible are regarded as his greatest creative triumphs, his self-portraits form a unique and intimate biography, in which the artist surveyed himself without vanity and with the utmost sincerity. Rembrandt's foremost contribution in the history of printmaking was his transformation of the etching process from a new reproductive technique into a true art form, along with Jacques Callot, his reputation as the greatest etcher in the history of the medium was established in his lifetime and never questioned since. Few of his paintings left the Dutch Republic whilst he lived, but his prints were circulated throughout Europe, his wider reputation was based on them alone.
In his works he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience. Because of his empathy for the human condition, he has been called "one of the great prophets of civilization"; the French sculptor Auguste Rodin said, "Compare me with Rembrandt! What sacrilege! With Rembrandt, the colossus of Art! We should prostrate ourselves before Rembrandt and never compare anyone with him!" Vincent van Gogh wrote, "Rembrandt goes so deep into the mysterious that he says things for which there are no words in any language. It is with justice that they call Rembrandt—magician—that's no easy occupation." Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born on 15 July 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic, now the Netherlands. He was the ninth child born to Harmen Gerritszoon van Rijn and Neeltgen Willemsdochter van Zuijtbrouck, his family was quite well-to-do. Religion is a central theme in Rembrandt's paintings and the religiously fraught period in which he lived makes his faith a matter of interest.
His mother was Roman Catholic, his father belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. While his work reveals deep Christian faith, there is no evidence that Rembrandt formally belonged to any church, although he had five of his children christened in Dutch Reformed churches in Amsterdam: four in the Oude Kerk and one, Titus, in the Zuiderkerk; as a boy he attended Latin school. At the age of 14, he was enrolled at the University of Leiden, although according to a contemporary he had a greater inclination towards painting. After a brief but important apprenticeship of six months with the painter Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, Rembrandt stayed a few months with Jacob Pynas and started his own workshop, though Simon van Leeuwen claimed that Joris van Schooten taught Rembrandt in Leiden. Unlike many of his contemporaries who traveled to Italy as part of their artistic training, Rembrandt never left the Dutch Republic during his lifetime, he opened a studio in Leiden in 1625, which he shared with friend and colleague Jan Lievens.
In 1627, Rembrandt began to accept students, among them Gerrit Dou in 1628. In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by the statesman Constantijn Huygens, who procured for Rembrandt important commissions from the court of The Hague; as a result of this connection, Prince Frederik Hendrik continued to purchase paintings from Rembrandt until 1646. At the end of 1631 Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam rapidly expanding as the new business capital of the Netherlands, began to practice as a professional portraitist for the first time, with great success, he stayed with an art dealer, Hendrick van Uylenburgh, in 1634, married Hendrick's cousin, Saskia van Uylenburgh. Saskia came from a good family: her father had been a lawyer and the burgemeester of Leeuwarden; when Saskia, as the youngest daughter, became an orphan, she lived with an older sister in Het Bildt. Rembrandt and Saskia were married in the local church of St. Annaparochie without the presence of Rembrandt's relatives. In the same