|Rembrandt Self-Portrait, 1659|
|The Syndics of the Draper's Guild, 1662, Rembrandt van Rijn|
|The Resurrection of Christ, 1635-39, |
Rembrandt van Rijn
The two elements of Rembrandt's work that make him eternal are his strong sense of composition and most importantly, his total mastery of light. His so-called "Rembrandt triangle", created by the highlighting of the cheekbone area beneath the eye opposite his light source has become stock-in-trade for portrait painters and photographers from his day to this day. Yet he used it in only one of the figures in the Drapers' Guild, demonstrating a versatility unmatched before or since in his mastery of facial lighting. In his earlier Resurrection of Christ (1635-39) we see the same mastery of light in a religious work. With this total conquest of light and shadow in mind, it's hard to imagine that during his relatively short career (a mere 40 years or so) that he could fly so high as a painter and plummet so low in popularity as to die penniless and forgotten at the age of 63.