Rembrandt was a Dutch painter and printmaker. He was a prolific master in three media, and considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. He is definitely the most important one in Dutch history.
And unlike other Dutch masters who focused on one theme or topic, his works include portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, genre scenes, historical scenes, mythological themes, animal studies, and biblical scenes.
He painted during the period of Baroque and Dutch golden age. And his legacy is much wider than just painting. For example, Rembrandt lighting is a lighting technique used in studio portrait photography. It can be achieved using one light and a reflector, or two lights. It is popular because it is capable of producing images that appear natural and compelling, without the use of many equipment tools.
Despite being an atheist, Rembrandt produced a number of biblical scene paintings. Nowadays, he is known as one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. But he died poor, having lost most of his fortune. He was given a funeral that was customary for the poor. His remains were later dug up and destroyed, a custom that was common for the poor.
Nowadays, his original works fetch millions at auctions.
1. Self-Portrait 1629
We said that some of his most famous works are his portraits and self-portraits. It is only fitting that we start off with a self-portrait, one of his early works.
2. The Artist in his Studio, 1628
This is not a portrait of Rembrandt. He is not the one in a studio. But it does show an artist studio in realist style. The little-known painting was done by a young Rembrandt. And it shows that even he felt daunted when starting a painting.
3. The Abduction of Europa 1632
No, this painting is not about Europe the continent. It is about Europa, the mother of King Minos of Crete, a Phoenician princess of Argive origin. After her, continent Europe is named. This mythological scene shows the tale of Zeus and his seduction and capture of Europa.
4. Bust of a Man Wearing a Gorget and Plumed Beret 1626
This painting is typical for his work. It is how Rembrandt light technique was born. It is one of the earliest extant single figure paintings by the Dutch master. The identity of the subject is unknown, but some believe it is a historical character.
5. Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem 1630
The story of Jeremiah is one of the early “I told you so”. He was a prophet, who saw the burning of his home city. The painting by Rembrandt, is one of the most renowned works of his Leiden period.
6. The Raising of the Cross 1633
We said that Rembrandt loved using biblical themes in his painting. The irony is that he was an atheist. But he was fascinated by the scenes in the Bible. This is one of the most recognizable scenes, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
7. The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp 1632
Regarded as one of his early masterpieces, this group portrait features seven surgeons and the physician Nicolaes Tulp in action. He was tasked to make a series of group portraits for the board room of the Guild of Surgeons. The earliest portrait dates from 1603.
8. Portrait of Jacques de Gheyn III 1632
Fun fact: this is the most stolen painting in the world. It has been stolen and recovered several times. Jacob was a son of a canon of Utrecht. This portrait is half of a pair of pendent portraits.
9. Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee 1633
Many of Rembrandt paintings are subject to thieves. The reason is simple, they steal them for money, as the paintings are priceless. This one was stolen in 1990, and remains missing. It is one of the most dramatic and dynamic images by Rembrandt, showing Jesus and his disciples enduring a storm on rough waters.
10. Belshazzar’s Feast 1635
With this painting, Rembrandt attempted to establish himself as a painter of large, baroque history. Belshazzar was a king of Babylon, succeeding his faster. The date of this painting is unknown, but most historians believe it was done between 1635 and 1638.
11. The Prodigal Son in the Tavern 1637
The Painting is also known as the Prodigal Son in the Brothel. But given how some people want to make things more elegant and sophisticated, it is was changed to Tavern.
12. Saskia as Flora 1635
Saskia is Rembrandt’s wife. In this painting, he shows her as the goddess Flora. The painting is houses in the Hermitage Dependence in Amsterdam, on a loan from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
13. Danae 1636
This is one of the most beautiful of all European paintings. Danae has been a theme for many painters. It is a story of how Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold. Titian also has a painting inspired by the mythological event. The painting was first done in 1636, and later reworked by Rembrandt in the 1640s. Sadly, it was damaged by vandals in the summer of 1985, and then taken to Hermitage in St. Petersburg for restoration.
14. Landscape with a Stone Bridge. 1638
Among the many famous Rembrandt paintings, few are landscapes. He is not much known for landscapes, but this one is among his most beautiful paintings.
15. The Night Watch 1642
Considered to be one of his most ambitious painting, it took three years for Rembrandt to finish this piece of art. The name was born because the multiple layers of varnish had darkened to such extent, that people though the canvas depicted a night scene. This painting is also one of his most expensive, selling for more than $30 million at an auction.
16. The Rest on The Flight into Egypt 1647
When King Herod was notified that a new King of the Jews had been born, he ordered the slaying of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem. Rembrandt’s painting shows Mary and Joseph hiding from the slaughtering.
17. Portrait of Jan Six, 1654
Considered to be one of his greatest portraits, and one of the greatest portraits of the 17th century. This painting shows Jan Six, a close friend and patron of Rembrandt. Thanks to the descendants of Jan Six, the portrait remains in the Six Collection in Amsterdam.
18. Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, 1653
Metropolitan Museum in New York paid $2.3 million dollars to obtain this late work by Rembrandt. It is among the most celebrated works of art in the museum. The painting conveys Rembrandt’s meditation on the meaning of fame.
19. Bathsheba at Her Bath 1654
Another biblical scene painting, it is viewed as both sensual and empathetic. The painting depicts a moment from the Old Testament. It is a story in which King David sees Bathsheba bathing, and then seduces and impregnates her.
20. Jacob Wrestling with the Angel ca. 165-1660
According to Christian commentary of the Bible incident described, Jacob said that he saw God face to face. Many asks did Jacob wrestle with God or an Angel. Rembrandt wanted to give life to the controversial mythological scene.
21. The Kitchen Maid 1651
Considered to be one of his most representative works, it has all of the main features by Rembrandt. You can notice the warm shades of red, brown, and yellow, as well as his typical portrait lighting.
22. Woman Bathing in a Stream 1654
Many believe that the woman on this painting is actually Hendrickje Stoffels. She is thought to be his mistress. The painting shows an erotic woman in a vulnerable state, stepping into her bath.
23. The Slaughtered Ox 1655
Many critics try to find hidden meaning behind this painting. Also known as Flayed Ox, others believe it is just a realistic depiction of the scene. The painting is in the collection of the Louvre in Paris since 1857.
24. The Polish Rider 1655
This painting of a young main traveling on horseback through a murky landscape is one of the most beloved paintings by Rembrandt. But it is also one of his most controversial. There are many unanswered questions about the painting. For starters, is it a portrait, or a depiction of historical character.
25. The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis 1661-1662
This is one of the largest paintings by Rembrandt. It was commissioned by the Amsterdam city council for the Town Hall. It depicts a famous moment in history, an episode from the Batavian rebellion. In the spirit of Michael Corleone, Claudius gathered the chiefs of the nation, and then bound the whole assembly with barbarous rites.
26. The Jewish Bride 1667
There is no record of how this painting was known before the 19th century. Since then, it is known as the Jewish Bride, and it is one of Rembrandt’s most famous works. An Amsterdam art collector identified the subject being a Jewish father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day.
27. Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild 1662
Another large portrait, it is also his last great collective portrait. This one is part of the series of group portraits for the board room of the Guild of Surgeons.
28. The Return of the Prodigal Son 1669
Some say Rembrandt’s final word is given in the monumental painting. In the painting, the son has returned home in a wretched state from travels in which he has wasted his inheritance. He has fallen into poverty and despair. In the painting, Rembrandt interprets the Christian idea of mercy.
29. Self-portrait at the age of 63, 1669
This is the last self-portrait Rembrandt made in his lifetime. He died at the age of 63, just after finishing this work. You can see how his face expression has changed. He made three self-portraits in 1669. During his lifetime, Rembrandt made more than 80 self-portraits.