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‘Rembrandt recharged’ might well describe the recent renovation of the Rembrandt House Museum, found on Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam. Certainly one for the art fans or those curious about this Dutch Golden Age painter, the Rembrandt House Museum is a fascinating, interactive and personal look at the artist’s life, set in the house where he lived for 19 years from 1639.
A new renovation has created more space in the Rembrandt House Museum, allowing for extra exhibition rooms plus an etching attic alongside multimedia tours, painting demonstrations and artwork allowing for a deeper connection to Rembrandt, creating a more vivid and realistic vision of how he lived.
Rembrandt moved to the house in Jodenbreestraat in 1639, although he had already been living in Amsterdam for eight years, taking advantage of its boom in trade to make a living as a society painter. The house was where he lived with his wife and love, Saskia, and where Saskia bore his child within the open-plan living room (which is also, as per tradition, where they slept in a box bed). Tragedy struck the household when Saskia died, nine months after childbirth. The start of a catalogue of misfortunate and debt, eventually Rembrandt was forced to sell the house 19 years later. In the selling of the house, historians were later able to piece the house’s interior back to how it was, as a document detailed every room and its contents as part of the sell.
Today at the Rembrandt House Museum, you can learn more about the man behind paintings such as The Anatomy Lesson and The Night Watch, who was made famous by his masterful use of chiaroscuro and although you won’t find these paintings here, there are collections of his etchings and drawings, showcasing his pure skill and artistic technique.
Making a visit more interactive, a multimedia tour really brings the subtleties of Rembrandt’s past to life, while standing in the very rooms that Rembrandt lived and painted. In his studio (which has been replicated well, thanks to a drawing Rembrandt sketched of the space) you can easily imagine the Master at work, in the dim, north-facing space he preferred as it had no direct sunlight.
Rembrandt enjoyed the medium of printmaking, and he made over 300 etchings – at his house you can join in an etching workshop in the attic. There are also a roster of temporary exhibitions that focus in on certain aspects of Rembrandt’s life or art, such as Rembrandt and Love, Framing Rembrandt (which has a cinema room) and an open studio which will recreate Rembrandt’s creative hub with a selection of local artists in residence.
Absolutely worth popping by when in Amsterdam, the Rembrandt House Museum is a deep dive into the imagination of this Golden Age thinker.