Rembrandt Lighting Pt. 1.

So since I really LOVE the rembrandt lighting in general, I think its about time I did a tutorial on it.

No, I am ofcourse kidding I dont love it, since its not possible to actually LOVE a lighting style, thats just silly. Its just that people searching for rembrandt lighting on google have a tendency to drop by my site. Alot.

So obviously there is someone out there that wants to learn about this particular lighting pattern, and I happen to know a little bit about it. So I figured the best way to start a tutorial like this would be to first introduce you to a certain gentleman named Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.

He is a portrait painter who lived in the start of the 16th century (from 1606 – 1669, roughly, I think). He grew up and lived large parts of his life in the town Leiden in Netherlands. After finishing his time at the university of Leiden, he got an apprenticeship for a painter in the same Town, where he was for 3 years. I wonder if he got paid as bad as photography apprentices do.  After his time with Swanenburgh he moved to Amsterdam and got an apprenticeship with the painter Pieter Lastman, wich apperently is quite famous. He even got his own wikipedia page. 


After his six month apprenticeship with Pieter, Rembrandt opened a studio with a friend, approx 1624, and he started taking in students of his own in 1627.

Fast forward a few seemingly boring years, and in 1629 Rembrandt got in touch with a important statesman, and got comissoned to do a lot of portraits for the court i Hague. This also set him up with some awesome connections with Prince Frederik Hendrik wich liked his work and kept buying it untill 1646.

In 1631 he moved to Amsterdam, and started working as a professional portrait painter for the first time, and did so with great success. Three years later he met Sasika. Whom he later married. They got a house together, and then a few years later, they got a even better house together, and that better house is infact now the Rembrandt House Mouseum (Catchy name, by the way. Wonder how they came up with it.).

Buying that pretty nice house, for 13,000 guilder (we assume thats the currency in the Netherlands), was one of the sources for the later economical difficulties Rembrandt would experience later in his life.

A portrait of Sasika, by Rembrandt:


Rembrandt and Sasika also faced a few hardships as a couple. Their three first children died pretty much right after birth. But their fourth kid, named Titus, actually survived, even though he had the weirdest name in his class, and probably had a pretty hard time growing up. Titus was a cool name in Rome, around the time caesar lived. It has never really been cool since.

A portrait of Rembrandts child, Titus, dressed as a monk(they where all out of batman customes:( )


In 1642 his wife died, and he hooked up with a nurse, who would later sue him for breach of promise, or something like that. And he had to pay her 200 guilders in alimoney every year. He married again to a much younger woman named Hendrickje Stoffels in the late 40’s and they had a child together named Cornelia.

Rembrandt spendt alot of money on art, and weird collectors items (including an japanesee armor, apparently. Awesome.). He also used to bid on himself to get the prices for his paintings up. He should really be famous for good businiess etique instead of masterful paintings. He spent a lot of money but never had any problems getting loans from most people, except for the painters guild, wich apperently didnt like the way he did things. So he had his wife and son start a new businiess and hire him as an employ to keep his exploits going. Clever, indeed.

A late self portrait of Rembrandt:


Rembrandt outlived both his much younger wife, Hendrickje Stoffels, and his son Titus.  Leaving behind a baby daughter. He died in 1669.

Now that you’ve met Rembrandt, and heard alittle about his history this marks the end of part one. Part two will be about his style in painting, and WHY you should learn to light a rembrandt, and what is so good about it.

Part three will probably consist of a few example shots by me, of my light set up in studio, a few finished images, and a sketch of light set up etc.

Sources: , , and also, my great mind.


4 responses to “Rembrandt Lighting Pt. 1.

  1. Hey,

    hehe, er noe rart med akkurat hvertfall. Fargene blir helt fine alle andre steder enn akkurat her. 🙂 Er klar over aRGB og sRBG, men takk for tipset. 😉

  2. Siri Fotograf

    Dette her liker vi!
    Skolestoff som er lett å lese og info som er kjekt å få med seg!

  3. The wife’s name is Saskia, not Sasika.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s