Rembrandt’s House Amsterdam

IMG_1772What a privilege it was to walk in the steps of Rembrandt – in the house he worked, ate, loved and slept in from 1639 -1658. The artist who continues to be appreciated as one of the greatest artists in the western world, but it took me a visit to his birthplace and environment to fully acknowledge that.  I am probably more likely to spend time viewing my contemporaries, but the opportunity to view Rembrandt’s art in several museums in recent years has reaffirmed to me why some artists have a language that transcends all borders and time.IMG_1768

He had an acute sensitivity and empathy for his subjects, clearly evident here where a poor family receive alms.IMG_1769

The etchings were masterly, and at times the restraint he showed by not adding too much detail – like a background, that leaves us more time to appreciate the figure or in some instances the plight or circumstances of the subject.IMG_1774

An intimate portrait of Rembrandt’s wife Saskia van Uylenburgh.

IMG_1770I love this version of Rembrandt. He painted many self portraits and frequently presented himself in an unappealing light. Seriously you would think he was a buffoon in this etching.

IMG_1732We saw the print room, alas our visit did not coincide with the regular demonstrations.


The natural history room collection.

IMG_1739These leather-bound books were filled with everything from maps to botanical and anatomical drawings.

IMG_1742Familiar props.

We saw a demonstration of how Rembrandt made his paints. The artist here uses a Muller to grind the linseed oil with the pigments. The paint is ready when it is scraped up with the palette knife and can hold its shape, just think about making whipped egg white hold a peak. A foodie analogy for my fellow food bloggers. The colours were mostly derived from rocks, natural semi precious stones, some plants and insects. We learned that he stored the paint in tiny bags made of leather.


A quirky habit of people in Rembrandt’s day was to raise a chair on a dais so you could sit and look at the people in the street.


Well you would want to see the bed where Rembrandt slept. Very cosy but of course very short as people in those times liked to sleep propped up in an almost sitting position.

A visit here is a must if you are going to Amsterdam. Click here if you missed my earlier post on Rembrandt’s Kitchen.


  1. #1 by Debra Kolkka on June 20, 2013 - 9:57 am

    We loved this too. It was as though he had just stepped out for a moment.

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