food in the arts




REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn/ ARTISTS 1600-1899/ ART MAIN 

film and food

literature and food 

(b. 1606, Leiden, d. 1669, Amsterdam)
Rembrandt was born in Leiden on July 15, 1606, his full name Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. He was the son of a miller. Despite the fact that he came from a family of relatively modest means, his parents took great care with his education. Rembrandt began his studies at the Latin School, and at the age of 14 he was enrolled at the University of Leiden. The program did not interest him, and he soon left to study art – first with a local master, Jacob van Swanenburch, and then, in Amsterdam, with Pieter Lastman, known for his historical paintings. After six months, having mastered everything he had been taught, Rembrandt returned to Leiden, where he was soon so highly regarded that although barely 22 years old, he took his first pupils. One of his students was the famous artist Gerrit Dou.

Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631; his marriage in 1634 to Saskia van Uylenburgh, the cousin of a successful art dealer, enhanced his career, bringing him in contact with wealthy patrons who eagerly commissioned portraits. Because of his renown as a teacher, his studio was filled with pupils, some of whom (such as Carel Fabritius) were already trained artists. In the 20th century, scholars have reattributed a number of his paintings to his associates; attributing and identifying Rembrandt’s works is an active area of art scholarship.

In contrast to his successful public career, however, Rembrandt’s family life was marked by misfortune. Between 1635 and 1641 Saskia gave birth to four children, but only the last, Titus, survived; her own death came in 1642- at the age of 30. Hendrickje Stoffels, engaged as his housekeeper about 1649, eventually became his common-law wife and was the model for many of his pictures. Despite Rembrandt’s financial success as an artist, teacher, and art dealer, his penchant for ostentatious living forced him to declare bankruptcy in 1656. An inventory of his collection of art and antiquities, taken before an auction to pay his debts, showed the breadth of Rembrandt’s interests: ancient sculpture, Flemish and Italian Renaissance paintings, Far Eastern art, contemporary Dutch works, weapons, and armour. Unfortunately, the results of the auction – including the sale of his house – were disappointing.

These problems in no way affected Rembrandt’s work; if anything, his artistry increased. His personal life, however, continued to be marred by sorrow. His beloved Hendrickje died in 1663, and his son, Titus, in 1668 – only 27 years of age. Eleven months later, on October 4,1669, Rembrandt died in Amsterdam.

music and food

photography and food


 Rembrandts Augen –

Les Yeux de Rembrandt –

pancake woman  
The Pancake Woman
Etching, 10.9 x 7.7 cm
Rembrandt’s romantic qualities are clearly evident in his 1631 etching,The Pancake Woman. He transforms an everyday scene of a woman making pancakes on the side of the street, into a passionate orchestra of personality. As your eyes move across the print, the mood that Rembrandt conveys increases in complexity. You feel intense sorrow for an extremely sad toddler on the far right, which is immediately vanquished by a joyful boy next to him who is laughing. Then a feeling of satisfaction arises with the boy in the back, who savours a bite. To the far left a loving mother holds her baby, communicating affection. Lastly there is a comical infant who looks disgustingly at a puppy, as he tries to protect his pancake. Rembrandt’s ability to convey such immense emotion in this print allowed him to transport an everyday scene, into an intriguing work of art.

P.G. Hamerton suggested that the scheme of The Pancake Woman was borrowed from Van de Velde. The centre of The Pancake Woman is a darkly shaded figure, encircled by lighter characters. There is no other etching from 1635 that matches its scheme. In The Pancake Woman the old woman making the pancakes is darker than the other characters, and she is also in focus.
THE FLAYED OX REMBRANDT.jpg (112098 bytes)      
The Flayed Ox
Oil on wood, 94 x 69 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Butchery became a topic of Western art along with the development of anatomical illustration in the seventeenth century. For Dutch painters it provided a way of dramatising the cult of the everyday, as in the uncompromising realism of Rembrandt’s depiction of a slaughtered ox, displayed for sale, with no hint of a symbolic meaning.  
Old Beggar Woman with a Gourd
c. 1630 

Hamerton, P.G. “Rembrandt’s Etchings.” The Portfolio Jan. 1894: 14-27.

Hinterding, Erik, Ger Luijten, and Martin Royalton-Kisch. Rembrandt the Printmaker. 
London: British Museum Press, 2001.

Christopher Montagano – DePauw University: