|Museum Het Rembrandthuis|
1011 NK Amsterdam
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We do not know exactly how many pupils Rembrandt had, but there must
have been more than forty of them. On the one hand they profited from
their master’s rapidly growing fame, on the other they themselves
contributed to broadcasting Rembrandt’s reputation.
Rembrandt had several pupils while he was still in Leiden. Once he came to Amsterdam the number rose sharply, particularly between 1640 and 1650. Initially, when he had just arrived in the city, Rembrandt taught in the house of the art dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh in the Breestraat. Later, when he had bought the house next door (now the museum), the lessons were given here. The pupils had their own workplaces in the ‘Cleyne Schildercaemer’ (the Small Studio), which could accommodate about five pupils at a time.
There were three types of pupil in Rembrandt’s studio. Firstly there were the boys aged between 12 and 14, who wanted to become painters in their own right. When one of these boys came to Rembrandt, he had usually already studied for some time with another master. Secondly there were the assistants, who remained in the studio after their apprenticeship with Rembrandt and helped with the teaching (among them Ferdinand Bol and Samuel van Hoogstraeten). And finally there were the ‘amateurs’, who took lessons in drawing and painting as part of a good education and did not have to make a living from their painting (for instance Leendert van Beyeren and Karel van der Pluym).
Every pupil later used what he had learned from Rembrandt in a different way. Rembrandt’s first pupil, Gerrit (Gerard) Dou, developed an extremely precise painting style, whereas Aert de Gelder always remained faithful to Rembrandt’s expressive paint handling technique. Rembrandt received around 100 guilders a year in tuition fees for each pupil.
Before pupils were allowed to work from life, they had to copy drawings, prints and paintings. Rembrandt also got them to copy his own paintings. It was only at a later stage that pupils were permitted to make their own works (composing and painting them), and these were sometimes corrected by the master. Rembrandt sold the copies after his own works and the paintings created by the pupils themselves in his art dealing business.
Rembrandt’s expressive and daring compositions attracted people from all over the country and even from abroad.
|Artists who were (or may have been) Rembrandt’s pupils:
Gerrit (Gerard) Dou
An Artist in his Studio, c. 1628
Panel, 53 x 64.5 cm Private collection
Dou was Rembrandt’s pupil in 1628. This painting, which was previously known as "Rembrandt in his Studio", shows the sort of objects that an artist might collect in his workroom, all in the service of his art. It should be seen as the ideal of a studio.
Unknown Rembrandt pupil
Drawing from life in Rembrandt’s Studio, c. 1650
Pen and brush in brown, black chalk, heightened with white, 18 x 26.6 cm
Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt
This studio interior shows us that Rembrandt was accustomed to get his pupils to draw from life in small groups. In the last phase of their training they had to learn how to depict the human figure in all sorts of poses. A shelf on the wall holds plaster casts of statues, which were used as teaching aids.