Feb 23, 2012

Rembrandt The Master of Light!

Maria Trip
Sharon Teal Coray

I was going through some photos from my trip to Amsterdam a few years ago and ran onto this picture. While we were there we visited the Rembrandt Museum. I remember standing in front of his paintings in awe. Until you see them in person you just cannot imagine the depth he achieved.
The museum itself is located within a charming three-story building that consequently was Rembrandt van Rijn’s former residence. When Rembrandt moved into the house he was a successful artist.
Rembrandt produced many of his works in this fashionable town house in Amsterdam. Purchased by the artist in 1639, when he was 33, it proved to be the scene of personal tragedy: his wife and three of his children died here. The house became a financial burden, and in 1660 Rembrandt was forced to move. A new owner added the upper story and roof, giving it the appearance it still bears. In 1911 the Dutch movement made it a Rembrandt museum preserving it both as a shrine of a revered national artist and as an imposing example of 17th Century Dutch architecture.

The museum showcases Rembrandt’s detail and unique use of light and shadow.
Rembrandts house today.

One of my favorite paintings is this painting. This young woman is Maria Trip, the daughter of a rich Amsterdam merchant. Rembrandt was at this time one of the most important portrait painters in Amsterdam, He painted her in 1639. Maria was twenty years old and still unmarried.
I was fascinated with this painting. Such detail. Just looking at her you can see she came from a wealthy family. This is what the museum said about her:

“Her collar consists of three layers and her cuffs are decorated with broad strips of bobbin lace. These strips and the rosettes on her dress are made from expensive gold lace, Gold lace was made of thread wound in pure gold. Many 17th-century gentlemen's and ladies' garments were decorated with gold lace. Sadly, no examples of the art have survived. Sooner or later, the gold lace was invariably melted down for the value of the metal.. The fine white linen of her blouse bulges out through the slit in her wide sleeves. Her jewelry also demonstrates her wealth: a string of large pearls around her neck, four rows of pearls on her wrists, a splendid brooch on her chest and matching earrings. Maria's hair is styled in the latest fashion: tied in a bun on the back of her head, which is also decorated with glittering jewels.”

I love the way Rembrandt used light in his paintings. Certain items or people would be bathed in light. That is called Chiaroscuro. The word is Italian, from chiaro clear, light + oscuro obscure, dark,
First Known Use was in1686.
The term chiaroscuro refers to a strong, combination of light and shade, which results in an eye-catching visual effect in a work of art. Leonardo da Vinci originally used the technique, then Caravaggio further developed it and finally Rembrandt perfected it. Over the course of his career, Rembrandt constantly used chiaroscuro to produce some of the most visually stunning and psychologically suggestive paintings in the history of art.

Rembrandt was able to achieve three specific effects, which have become trademarks of his style: spectacular intensity, rhythmic visual harmony, and psychological depth by his technique of using contrasting values and manipulating light and shadow.

Rembrandt's Studio
Rembrandt's grinding area, he gound his pigments here.

Let's take a closer look at this beautiful painting.

The black fabric of the dress on her shoulders and the skin tones of her chest, glimmer through the white fabric.
Throughout the painting, Rembrandt has added subtle edges of shadow: in the sleeves, along the collar and on her hand.

The gossamer-fine linen is brilliantly depicted it looks transparent. Look at the delicate lace!

Even the thick folds of her black clothes shine with the light.

She is holding a folded fan with ribbon of gold lace that falls across her hand.
The edge of her hand is shaded.

Spots of light dances on each of the pearls and her delicate skin shows though the fabric

This painting was on display at the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam. These two museums are a must see if you have the opportunity to visit there.
Here is a link to the museum:

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