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This is Rembrandt

Jorella Andrews, illustrations by Nick Higgins


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Rembrandt is probably the most famous Dutch painter of the seventeenth century. His works are greatly loved today, but he was not always so well regarded. His life was one of a dramatic rise and fall, unfolding during the Golden Age of the newly formed Dutch Republic.

Rembrandt’s public acclaim and wealth as a painter came to him as a very young man. His images were vigorous, psychologically compelling but also often less than flattering. By his middle age taste had shifted to more idealized visions, and by the time of his death in 1669 Rembrandt was destitute.

But whether the public was with or against him, Rembrandt continued to paint with the same passion, and arguably the art he produced in his final, destitute years is his most intimate, sensitive, and open.

Jorella Andrews is a senior lecturer in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of This is Cézanne and Showing Off: A Philosophy of Image, and the series editor for ‘Visual Culture As,’ the first three titles of which have been published by Sternberg Press.

Nick Higgins is a London-based illustrator with many clients in publishing and advertising, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and BBC World Service. He is a keen cyclist and has a passion for nature, science, history, and myth—all themes clearly evident in his work.