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Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born July 15 1606 in Leiden the Netherlands His father worked at a mill as did many Dutchmen but wanted his son to work in an academic profession However Rembrandt left his studies at the University of Leiden in order to study painting His work had become well known by 1631 and so he left his successful Leiden studio for Amsterdam After this he became Hollands premier painter As a well-known painter many of his commissions involved portraits He was an upper class citizen unlike many artists and married Saskia van Uylenburgh who would become one of the main subjects of his works He known for his landscape paintings as well and he was one of the more prominent etchers of the time In fact one source says that he ranks among the foremost of all time for his etchings When he had no other subjects to paint he created self-portraits the number of which is estimated at between 50 and 60 In his early days in Leiden many of his works showed the lines light and shade and color of everyday people By 1634 his works were starting to show strong lighting effects But in 1636 his works displayed quieter more reflective scenes with warmer colors After his wifes death in 1642 and the deaths of three children in infancy he painted his most famous work The Night Watch In it a group of city guardsmen await the command to fall in line Unlike most paintings he shows each guardsmen the care and detail that he would put into a single portrait but it seems that the figures of the men are not as interesting as the whole painting which shows brilliant color much movement and bright light Rembrandt as an upper class citizen enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle He bought many paintings from other artists However by the 1650s he was living beyond his means and thus his house
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