Chronology 1606-1635

1606 Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn is born in Leiden on 15 July. He is the ninth child of the miller Harmen Gerritsz van Rijn(1569-1630) and Neeltgen Willemsdr Zuytbrouck(1568-1640), whose family is quite wealthy.

1613-15 Rembrandt van Rijn attends the Latin School to prepare for admission to Leiden University.

1620 The earliest document to refer to Rembrandt by name dates from 20 May 1620: his enrollment at Leiden University as'Rembranaus hermanni Leydensis studiosus litterarum annor[um] 14 apud parentes'. This indicates he is still living with his parents and he is not yet 14 years old.

1622 A document of 18 October 1622 shows that Rembrandt is still living with his parents in Leiden's Weddesteeg, together with his brothers and sisters Gerrit, Machtelt, Cornelis and Lysbeth. His brothers Willem and Adriaen have left home.

Rembrandt starts a three-year apprenticeship with the Leiden painter and burgomaster's son Jacob Isaacsz van Swanenburgh (1571-1638).

1625 The Stoning of Saint Stephen is Rembrandt's earliest dated painting. In this picture, as well as in other undated history paintings from his early career, Rembrandt gives a spectator his own features.

1625-26 Several dated history paintings of 1625 and 1626 are signed 'R f (Rembrandt made this)'or'RH (Rembrandt Harmenszoon)'.

The young artist spends at least six months in Amsterdam studying with the history painter Pieter Lastman (1583-1633), probably in 1625-26.

1626 Rembrandt sets up as an independent painter in Leiden.

He publishes an etching in Haarlem signed with his name. He rapidly develops into a talented graphic artist.

1628 Rembrandt is regularly mentioned as a painter from this year on. The Utrecht lawyer Arnold van Buchel (1565-1641) visits Leiden on 10 January, and notes in his diary that a miller's son is causing a sensation there as an artist, although he finds that a little premature ('sed ante tempus').

On 14 February, the 14-year-old Gerrit Dou becomes Rembrandt's first pupil.

Rembrandt makes two etchings of an old woman, probably his mother, as well as several undated self portraits.

1629 Rembrandt completes a painted self portrait his earliest dated picture of himself. The same year he signs and dates an etched self portrait.

After his stay in the northern Netherlands in this year, Ambassador Sir Robert Kerr (1578-1654), later the first Earl of Ancrum, gives several paintings to King Charles I, among them 'the picture done by Rembrant, being his own picture & done by himself'.

An Amsterdam inventory of 19 October lists a painting (no longer identifiable) as 'a small tronie (head) by Rembrandt'.

Constantijn Huygens (1596-1687), secretary to Stadholder Frederick Henry, visits the Leiden studio shared by Rembrandt and Jan Lievens (1607-74), and compares their work. He finds them both brilliant, but too introverted. Not long afterwards, Huygens procures Rembrandt important commissions from the court in The Hague.

1630 Harmen Gerritsz is buried in Leiden on 27 April. Rembrandt draws a posthumous (?) portrait of his father.

In May and November Rembrandt signs two receipts. Each is for fifty guilders, the six-monthly tuition fee of his pupil Isaac de Jouderville. On 29 November the following year he receives a further fifty guilders for another six-month term of apprenticeship.

In the course of the year Rembrandt makes a large number of etchings, most of them small, which he signs with his customary monogram'RHL (Rembrandt Harmenszoon of Leiden)'. In four etchings he experiments with facial expressions, showing himself surprised, frowning with his mouth open, angry and smiling.

1631 On 20 June, Rembrandt lends the sizable sum of 1,000 guilders to the Amsterdam art dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh (1587-1661).

At the end of 1631 (probably) the painter leaves his native city for Amsterdam, where he lodges with Van Uylenburgh. The latter has a successful art gallery with an'academy' attached, where young painters are trained. Rembrandt teaches there. His main commissions are for portraits.

The first in a long series is that of the Amsterdam merchant Nicolaas Ruts (1573-1638; New York, The Frick Collection).

Rembrandt etches his first 'formal' self portrait after a model seemingly by Peter Paul Rubens.

1632 Rembrandt's portrait of Amalla of Solms (Paris, Mus6e Jacquemart-Andr6), wife of Frederick Henry, is mentioned in an inventory of the stadholder's collection drawn up in The Hague on 16 August. This year he completes The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp (The Hague, Mauritshuls), his first large group portrait. He is now 26 years old.

1633 On 4 April, Pieter Lastman is buried in Amsterdam's Oude Kerk (Old Church). Rembrandt honours his teacher's memory with drawn copies of several of his paintings.

Rembrandt is amazingly prolific as a portraitist. A painted self portrait is his first work to bear the signature'Rembrandt qecit]'. From 1633 he signs almost exclusively with his Christian name, undoubtedly in imitation of great Italian painters like Leonardo (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1475-1564), Raphael (1483-1520) and Titian (active by 1510; died 1576).

The Remonstrant preacher Johannes Wtenbogaert (16o8-8o) records in his notebook that he was painted by Rembrandt'on 13 April).

On 8 June, Rembrandt makes a silverpoint drawing on vellum of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-4Z), a burgomaster's daughter from Leeuwarden and cousin of his employer, Van Uylenburgh. It emerges from the inscription that Rembrandt and Saskia are betrothed.

1634 Rembrandt becomes a citizen of Amsterdam and a member of the city's guild of painters. He is given the customary guild funeral token bearing his name: 'Rembrant Hermans [Painter]'.

On 20 June,'Rembrant Harmanss van Rijn of Leiden, 26 years old ... living in Bre [e] straet' registers the banns of his marriage to Saskia. On 14 June, his mother gives her consent to the match in a notarial deed.

Hendrick van Uylenburgh writes the motto'Miedeltnaet haut staet (The golden mean is best)'in the album amicorum of a German client, Burchard Grossman. Rembrandt contributes the age-old adage: 'Een vroom gemoet Adit eer voor goet (The pious hold, esteem o'er gold)'.

Rembrandt marries Saskia on 22 June in the parish of St Anne in Friesland.

On 3 July, Saskia signs a document in Friesland arranging for the sale of property. Three weeks later, Rembrandt is described as a'merchant of Amsterdam'in connection with a portrait commission in Rotterdam.

1635 On 22 February, Rembrandt and Saskia are still living with her much older cousin in Amsterdam: an annotated auction list gives his address as'Rembrandt van Rijn at Hendrick [van] Uylenburgh's'.

Rembrandt makes a large painting(The Prodigal Son in the Tavern), which is interpreted as a kind of self portrait of the painter and his wife.

Rembrandt's son Rumbartus, named after Saskia's father, is born on 15 December. This first child lives only two months.

Numerous pupils come to study with Rembrandt, among them Ferdinand Bol and Gerbrand van den Eeckhout. Govert Flinck may have entered the master's studio earlier in 1633.

continue to 1636-1650