He mastered in self portraits, illustrations of the scenes from the Bible and portraits of contemporaries. What's even more interesting and enigmatic about Rembrandt is the way in which his portraits reflect his life-it almost seems autobiographical. Many contemporary writers have written on Rembrandt; however Gary Schwartz's work stands out.
The Rembrandt Book, which was published in honor of the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt's birth, the book gives the reader an opportunity to comprehend his life as it was. One familiarizes themselves through the book with Rembrandt's family, friends, patrons, and European civilization and present day culture. Each chapter of the book allows one to have a sneak peak into Rembrandt's creative thought process. Gary Schwartz has used contemporary sources to assimilate information in the book on Rembrandt. Rembrandt received a thorough grounding in classical and biblical studies. In 1629, Rembrandt painted a self portrait which is regarded as first of the many that would follow. Rembrandt's life wasn't devoid of difficulties and problems. Infact, he led a plain tans life for the longest time. In spite of getting married by 1634, he had an illegitimate daughter, Cornelia. Eventually when Rembrandt is reported to be in deep financial trouble and declared he as an insolvent in 1656, the authorities in Amsterdam compiled a minutely detailed inventory of his possessions. Many documents were compiled out of which, one document is said to state the providence of a list with two plaster casts of children, one plaster head, five works by other artists, four of his own paintings and one shoe. Rembrandt led an extremely colorful life rich with drama, suspense and thrilling in its own right. Rembrandt: His life, His paintings, perhaps tries to more significantly work at understanding how Rembrandt's nasty disposition, tactlessness, nasty disposition and underhanded dealings built up to sabotage his illustrious career as an artists. Both of Gary Schwartz's books attempt not at maligning the man but presenting his life and facts as they were. While one is about Rembrandt's life in general, the other attempts to comprehend the course of his life and analyze as well as read into his psyche. In the book on his life we come to terms with an embittered genius, who is unwilling or perhaps unable to actually win the protection of his clan leaders that was instrumental to advancement of his career. Schwartz, painstakingly pieces together all of Rembrandt's connections, with dealers, customers and friends to conclude that for most part of his life Rembrandt was dependent on a fairly fixed set of people. Rembrandt's artistic scope seems to have also been limited due to the commissioned work he was given by his patrons. The book can be seen as part biography and part catalogue, since it claims to be the first of its kind to present color reproductions of all Rembrandt's paintings, except of course for those that were taken by private collectors. The Rembrandt book on the other hand is visually enhanced by 700 full color illustrations. It also tries to take the controversies out in the open with regard to Rembrandt's work on his paintings, questioning whether some of his paintings can actually be called his. One comes to realize that several of Rembrandt's earlier works are because of Latsman's influence. One instance of this amongst others is 'Stoning of Stephen' which is dated