Rembrandt was born in Leyden on July 15, 1606.  In 1620 he became a student at the Latin School of Leyden University, but soon gave up his formal education to enter the studio of Jacob van Swanenburch.  He continued his instruction in Amsterdam with Pieter Lastman and then Jan Pynas.  In 1626 he returned to Leyden, an independent master, and entered into partnership with Gerald Dou (1628).  Three years later he settled in Amsterdam, where he remained until his death.  In that city his first big portrait group, "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp" gained him immediate recognition and a fashionable portrait following.  Rembrandt, however, could not accept that sort of career and "The Night Watch", finished in 1642, aroused the hostility of his sitters.

Titus, the artist's only son was born in 1641, the year preceding his mother, Saskia's, death.  In their eight years of married life, Saskia had born Rembrandt four children, but only Titus survived childhood.  His financial affairs meanwhile had become disastrously involved and were rapidly getting out of control, and in 1656 he was declared insolvent.  He continued consistently to work, despite his misfortunes, living with Hendrickje Stoffels, who had been his housekeeper, and Titus, and in 1654 a daughter, Cornelia was born.

The number of his paintings, etchings and drawings is unusually large.  No artist has ever left so complete a record of his own appearance as has Rembrandt.  He used himself constantly as a model, from his boyhood to the very year of his death, and it has been estimated that he must have made at least two self-portraits a year throughout his life.  He died on October 4, 1669 and was buried in the Westerkerk.

Sources include:
Masterpieces of Art, catalogue of the New York World's Fair 1940
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures: Rembrandts in the Metropolitan.

Works by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn