Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Rembrandt And His Saddest Love Story

Artists' Stories

Rembrandt And His Saddest Love Story

You know Rembrandt and his portraits in hats. You know his biblical scenes and his views of Amsterdam. You could recognize his style from afar. But do you know his saddest love story which considerably impacted on his painting and the rest of his life?

Rembrandt_-_Rembrandt_and_Saskia_in_the_Scene_of_the_Prodigal_Son_-_Google_Art_Project

Rembrandt, The Prodigal Son in the Tavern, a self-portrait with Saskia, c. 1635, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden.

Rembrandt met Saskia van Uylenburgh in the house of her uncle who was an art dealer. She was a 21 years old girl from a respected and wealthy family – Rembrandt was no match for a girl from her social class. She must have been in love though, since against all conventions she really pressed for the marriage and a year after their engagement in 1633 they married. Nobody from Rembrandt’s family came for the celebration.

Harmensz_van_Rijn_Rembrandt_-_Flora_

Rembrandt, Flora, 1634, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg


Rembrandt adored Saskia. She posed for him very often and he loved to paint her. She hides behind many of the female characters painted by Rembrandt. Here you can see her as Flora, a goddess of flowers. She looks pregnant – at that time Saskia was pregnant too, with their first son Rumbertus who died after birth. Their next child, daughter Cornelia died too and so did the next daughter. Only the fourth child, son Titus, survived childhood.

portrait-of-the-young-saskia-1633

Rembrandt, Portrait Of The Young Saskia, 1633, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

Sadly, after Titus’ birth in 1642 Saskia fell ill and she died a year after, aged 29. Rembrandt drew her even on her deathbed. After her death, his painting style changed. He focused on etchings and drawings, and abandoned oils for over seven years. Even when he returned to painting, his works were dark and penetrated with solitude and grief. Neither of his next two mistresses could have possibly taken the same place in his heart as Saskia.


THE SADDEST PART: With time, Rembrandt was getting poorer and poorer. He lost the inheritance after Saskia and he was forced to sell all his works. He was desperate to such an extent that he had to sell even Saskia’s grave. Heartbreaking.

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

Comments

More in Artists' Stories

  • 21st century

    Black Artists Matter

    By

    In the past days I have been repeatedly asking myself what I, a white art historian (gosh, how privileged that already sounds), can do to help raise awareness about the continuing racism and discrimination not only in the United States, but everywhere else. And what came...

  • Artist

    Famous Painters and Their Children

    By

    On June 1st, 1925, the World Conference for the well-being of Children held in Geneva, Switzerland, proclaimed June 1 to be International Children’s Day. Later, in 1954 the UN established a Universal Children’s Day on the 20th November. Since there was no specific date for the...

  • Zaretskyi Self-portrait Zaretskyi Self-portrait

    20th century

    Viktor Zaretsky: The Oeuvre of the Ukrainian Gustav Klimt

    By

    Viktor Zaretsky is often called the Ukrainian Gustav Klimt. In fact, the influence of Klimt on the artworks of this Ukrainian artist is quite obvious. However, this does not mean that he just copied the works of the Austrian. Zaretsky developed his own artistic language, which...

  • Vincent Van Gogh, The Sower, 1888 Vincent Van Gogh, The Sower, 1888

    19th Century

    Vincent van Gogh Copying Other Artists

    By

    Vincent van Gogh is famous nowadays for two things. Firstly, his unstoppable creativity – he produced 2,100 artworks in just over a decade. And, secondly, his struggles with his mental health. The famous ear incident was the catalyst for him admitting himself into the Saint-Remy Asylum,...

  • 20th century

    The Art of Adolf Hitler: Idyllic Paintings of a Monster

    By

    Adolf Hitler is one of history’s most infamous dictators. After coming to power as Führer of Nazi Germany, he and his followers were responsible for the deaths of millions, not to mention the world’s greatest mass theft and destruction of priceless artworks. However, what you may...

To Top

Just to let you know, DailyArt Magazine’s website uses cookies to personalise content and adverts, to provide social media features and to analyse traffic. Read cookies policy