Fame in youth, rough middle age, and later years, Rembrandt seized the fruit of the peak of life at an early age and deeply understood the true meaning of life's misery. Few people can understand the sadness after the tide.
Rembrandt once said: "The first half of my life is only the peak in the eyes of others, and the second half of my life is the real me." He experienced sides of life, the sweetness and the sourness of the world. His paintings thus transcend simple technical expression and enter into an almost religious spiritual expression with his deep insight into the heart and society, penetrating the surface and triggering the deepest secrets hidden in the soul.
Born on July 15, 1606, to a wealthy Dutch miller, Rembrandt received an elite education from an early age, entering the University of Leiden at the age of 14 to study law and dropping out after six months to study painting in Amsterdam, then the most prosperous city in Europe. His works were in short supply, and he was at the top of his life.
The Artist in his Studio is a self-portrait of Rembrandt at the age of about 22. In the painting, the artist stands in the corner, barely recognizable as an individual, deeply thinking, illustrating Rembrandt's respect for painting and his devotion to creation.
The Stoning of Saint Stephen shows the stoning of St. Stephen for blasphemy. The young Rembrandt chose the moment when the people are preparing to stone St. Stephen, and the light and shadows divide the scene along a diagonal line, contrasting the executioners' frozen movements and indignant expressions with Stephen's calm composure.
The Blinding of Samson is one of Rembrandt's few paintings showing an extreme conflict. In the scene, Delilah is fleeing with scissors in one hand and cut hair in the other, while Samson is on the ground, defenseless against his enemies. Rembrandt placed the figures in the center of the picture and contrasts light and dark, thus creating a Caravaggio-style dramatic conflict.
At the age of 36, Rembrandt's largest, most ambitious and best-known work, The Night Watch, heralded the end of his peak and the beginning of his tragic fate.
At the time, it was fashionable to depict group portraits. Group payment, group appearances. Rembrandt did not follow the norm, nor did he consider the mindset of his financiers. Instead, he decided to abide by the rules of art, framing the scene in a moment of gathering momentum, presenting the figures in an almost disorderly manner, and replacing the static, stereotypical pose with vivid body language.
However, this masterpiece is not a perfect group portrait. The security guards who saw the painting were dumbfounded. In the painting, except for the captain, who was tall and distinct, most of the figures only had blurred outlines. As a result, they refused to pay for the painting and took Rembrandt to court, causing an uproar.
Then, the hand of fate waved down in turn: death, rebellion, poverty and ill-health, Rembrandt quickly slid into the abyss of fate.
If Rembrandt was a genius painter in his prime, he was a master of art after his fall. Perhaps because he saw through the world, Rembrandt's understanding of human nature was deeper, and he portrayed details impeccably. He did not care about absolute beauty but sought poetry in the faces of worldly people. Even if he brutally and directly painted every wrinkle on their faces, making every piece of flab visible, his paintings are still full of sorrowful and quiet beauty.
In 1669, Rembrandt died in poverty. At this time, he left no possessions except his old clothes and painting equipment.