During my recent trip to Europe I had a chance to spend time in Amsterdam and visit the Rembrandt House. Rembrandt lived and worked in this beautiful, several stories high house between 1639 and 1658. Based on an inventory of the time, the house has been filled with furniture, art and objects dating from the 17th century.
In the Rembrandt House there are daily demonstrations of etching and paint preparation that show you the way he worked in that period of time. Rembrandt was not only a great painter, but also a very skilled etcher. According to the inventory there was an oak press in the etching room. This was probably a printing press, on which Rembrandt printed his etchings. At that period, etchings - prints made from copper plates, were printed on a wooden press. The inked plate was run through the press with a moistened sheet of paper. The finished etchings were then hung on a clothesline for drying.
I loved to be able to see how the artist would have hung his best paintings to show them to visitors as they came by to conduct business. Walking through all the different rooms in the house was like stepping back in time. I expected Rembrandt to tap me on the shoulder and ask what I was doing in his home. LOL - yup the only one tapping me on the shoulder was the security guard asking me to take off my pack pack and carry it in the front.
The Salon was Rembrandt's living room and bedroom. Paintings hung on the walls of this high-ceilinged room, among them biblical scenes by Rembrandt and paintings by other artists who he admired, including Pieter Lastman, Jan Lievens and Hercules Segers. Rembrandt slept in a box bed by the door. It was known what the room looked like, because a painting of Rembrandt's wife Saskia lying in bed exists.
Of course being an artist means that my most favorite room in the house was Rembrandt's studio. It was large and filled with beautiful light. During my visit an artist was doing demos showing how pigments would have been grounded and mixed. I really wanted to take notes, but hubby was waiting outside and I could not linger. However, I noticed that the artist used to have several small palettes and had a huge grinding rock in studio. Just watch the slide show for the images. I wonder what it took to get that rock up the narrow steps in the house?!
Rembrandt even had a separate prop room. He would purchase props for his paintings and have model hold or even wear some of the items in his collection.
Since I took a crazy amount of photos in Rembrandt's house I put together a little slide show. I love to hear what you think about the artist's home. Have you visited there?