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A bluffer’s guide to Rembrandt

Words by Rob Chilton

As a major new exhibition runs in the UAE, impress your pals and sound like an art expert with our helpful guide to the Dutch master, Rembrandt

If you hear the phrase 'Dutch Master' and immediately think of Dennis Bergkamp, you’re probably not an art aficionado. But fear not. With EDGAR’s helpful guide to this golden age of painting – and the great artist Rembrandt in particular – you’ll sound like a culture vulture in no time.

A major exhibition is currently running at the spectacular Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi that showcases the largest display of Dutch Masters ever seen in the Gulf.

Ninety-five pieces from the 17th Century have been collected for the landmark show, Rembrandt, Vermeer and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre.

Self-Portrait with Shaded Eyes, 1634

The exhibition runs until May 18 and features 20 works from arguably the most famous Master of them all: Rembrandt van Rijn. Here’s our two-minute guide to the Dutch painter.

One of the most important figures in European art, Rembrandt van Rijn had a famously fat nose. He was born in Leiden, Netherlands in 1606, and was the third son of a local miller.

Head of a Young Man With Clasped Hands, 1650

He moved to Amsterdam in 1631 and became a painter. A year later he had his first major success with The Anatomy Lesson. He painted around 80 self-portraits and also made portraits of his wife Saskia and his son Titus.

Saskia died aged 29 when Titus was just a baby and Rembrandt became depressed. He began an affair with his son’s nurse and later his housekeeper.

Bust of a Bearded Old Man, 1633

The Amsterdam townhouse, Rembrandthuis that Rembrandt bought in 1639 is now a museum of the artist’s life and works. Arguably his three greatest works are The Anatomy Lesson, The Night Watch, and The Syndics of the Clothmakers Guild.

Sadly, things didn’t end well for poor old Rembrandt: he died bankrupt and lonely in 1669, aged 63, having been evicted from his home and studio, but his spectacular body of work lives on today.

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