Hi, Rembrandt van Rijn, Could you tell us a bit about your background and what led you to pursue painting?

I was born in 1606 in Leiden, in the Dutch Republic. My family was relatively well-off, which allowed me the privilege of education. I attended Latin school and later the University of Leiden. However, my true passion was always art. I was apprenticed to a Leiden history painter at a young age and later studied under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam. I was drawn to painting because of its ability to capture not just the appearance but the essence of a subject – the emotions, the play of light and shadow, and the deeper narrative.

How would you describe your approach to art and the development of your style?

My style is rooted in the Baroque tradition but with a personal twist. I focus on realism, bringing a sense of honesty and emotion to my subjects. Over the years, my technique evolved to include bold contrasts of light and dark, a method known as chiaroscuro, to add drama and depth to my work. I also became more introspective in my later years, which reflected in the profound and somber tones of my later works.

What inspires you to choose the subjects that you do?

I am inspired by a wide range of subjects – biblical and mythological scenes, portraits, and self-portraits, and everyday life. What intrigues me most is the human condition, the play of emotions and expressions. I seek to capture the humanity of my subjects, whether they are figures from history or everyday people from my surroundings.

Could you elaborate on how you approach color in your work?

My use of color is often subdued, relying more on the power of light and shadow to shape the composition and mood. I use color strategically, to draw attention to certain elements of the painting or to convey a particular atmosphere. The richness of earth tones in my palette helps in creating a sense of warmth and depth.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring artists who look up to your work?

To aspiring artists, I would say: master the basics – drawing, composition, understanding of light and shadow – but also dare to experiment and find your own voice. Art is not just about technical skill but about conveying emotion and telling a story. Be observant of the world and people around you; they are an endless source of inspiration. And most importantly, be true to your vision and relentless in your pursuit of artistic growth.