This week’s arts and culture column begins like this:
Rembrandt van Rijn’s “Self-Portrait at the Age of 34,” on loan from the National Gallery in London, is on view at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena through March 5. The appearance marks the painting’s U.S. debut.
A little background: Rembrandt (1606-1669), Dutch painter, printmaker and draughtsman, was born in Leiden to prosperous parents. His mother was Catholic and his father a member of the Dutch Reformed Church. Though as an adult he seemed to have practiced no religion himself, this Christian influence of his childhood clearly marked and helped form him.
In 1932 he moved to Amsterdam, and in 1934 he married Saskia van Uylenburgh, the cousin of his art dealer.
Prodigiously talented, and prolific in a wide range of styles and subjects, his oeuvre includes landscapes, mythological and religious works, and portraits.
Though now widely considered one of the greatest artists the world has known, and certainly the most important in Dutch art history, Rembrandt’s later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial catastrophe.