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Museum Stories Rembrandt, Self-Portrait with curly hair, c. 1629. Etching (state II), 56 x 49 mm., Amsterdam, The Rembrandt House Museum.

Published on December 9th, 2016 | by Zuzanna Stanska

8 Reasons To Visit Rembrandt House in Amsterdam

If you happen to find yourself in Amsterdam you just can’t miss Rembrandt House Museum (Museum het Rembrandthuis). It is the original place of living of Rembrandt and his family between 1639 and 1658, that over 100 years ago was turned into museum. If you still have doubts whether you should spent couple of hours of your precious time precisely there, here are 8 reasons WHY you should make up your mind and go to Rembrandt House Museum:

The Rembrandt House Museum

The Rembrandt House Museum

1. The house was built in 1607 in a place known then as Sint Anthonisbreestraat. It was kinda hipster area of settlement of many rich merchants and artists.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Night Watch, 1642, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

Rembrandt van Rijn, The Night Watch, 1642, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

2. In 1639 Rembrandt purchased the house for thirteen thousand guilders, which was a huge sum. The artist didn’t have enough cash to buy it but he was allowed to pay it off in installments. The same year, Rembrandt was awarded the prestigious commission to paint the Night Watch; he was earning a lot of money.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait with curly hair, c. 1629. Etching (state II), 56 x 49 mm., Amsterdam, The Rembrandt House Museum.

Rembrandt, Self-Portrait with curly hair, c. 1629. Etching (state II), 56 x 49 mm., Amsterdam, The Rembrandt House Museum.

3. He was earning a lot of money BUT he was unable—or unwilling—to pay off the mortgage. This was eventually to bring about his financial downfall. Between 1652 and 1656 Rembrandt made frantic attempts to get his hands on money to pay off his debt. He did not succeed and was forced into bankruptcy.

On the left: Rembrandt, Five studies of the head of Saskia, and one of an older woman, 1636. Etching, only state, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam. On the right: Rembrandt, Etching plate with ‘Five studies of the head of Saskia, and one of an older woman’, 1636. Copper, The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam

On the left: Rembrandt, Five studies of the head of Saskia, and one of an older woman, 1636. Etching, only state, The Rembrandt House Museum. On the right: Rembrandt, Etching plate with ‘Five studies of the head of Saskia, and one of an older woman’, 1636. Copper, The Rembrandt House Museum.

4. The house was also the scene of personal tragedy: Rembrandt’s wife Saskia and three of his children died here.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait, 1658, The Frick Collection

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self-Portrait, 1658, The Frick Collection

5. The house was auctioned in 1658 and fetched something over eleven thousand guilders. Rembrandt moved to a small rented house on the Rozengracht, where he lived until his death in 1669. The self-portrait you see above was painted in 1658. Of the many self-portraits Rembrandt painted over a lifetime, this is perhaps the greatest, not only for its poignant revelations of the self, but for his sure handling of paint. He doesn’t look like a man who has just lost his house, does he?

Rembrandt House interior around 1911

The Rembrandt House interior around 1911

6. In 1911 the Dutch movement made the Rembrandt house a museum -preserving it both as a shrine of a revered national artist and as an imposing example of 17th Century Dutch architecture.

Rembrandt van Rijn, The mill, 1641. Etching, only state. The Rembrandt House Museum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt van Rijn, The mill, 1641. Etching, only state. The Rembrandt House Museum

7. The core of the Rembrandt House collection are Rembrandt’s graphic works: etchings, drawings and copper plates. It provides an almost complete overview of Rembrandt’s graphic oeuvre: 260 of the 290 etchings he made are represented here. The museum owns also a small number of paintings by Rembrandt’s teacher, his pupils and his contemporaries.

Copper etching equipment with plates in Rembrandt House. Source: Tripadvisor.com

Copper etching equipment with plates in Rembrandt House. Source: Tripadvisor.com

8. The museum organizes very interesting workshops, usually free of charge: on how etchings were printed in the 17th century, or how paint was made in Rembrandt’s time. They are definitely worth seeing and participating in.

Here you will find more info about the museum and it’s collection: The Rembrandt House website. I hope you’re convinced now!


About the Author

Art Historian, huge fan of the great but forgotten artists like Giorgione or Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Founder and CEO of DailyArtDaily.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.



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