Date of Birth: 15/7/1606
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch artist, generally considered one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European art history. Rembrandt was born in Leidin into a well-to-do family, his father was a miller and his mother was a baker's daughter. At the age of 14, he began studying at the famous University of Leiden but academic life did not suit him. After a few months he left to begin an apprenticeship as a painter. He served an apprenticeship to local history painter, Jacob van Swanenburgh and to Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. Rembrandt opened his own studio and began securing important commissions and painted numerous biblical scenes. In around 1631, he moved to Amsterdam and began to practice as a professional portraitist. The most important families and organisations in the city also commissioned paintings. As well as portraits, he produced baroque history paintings such as "Belshazzar's Feast." Rembrandt lived beyond his means, and was a compulsive buyer of art, prints and rarities, and his wife's family accused him of squandering her fortune. He was forced to sell his house and his printing-press and move to more modest accommodation in 1660 but these problems in no way affected Rembrandt's work; if anything, his artistry increased.