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Amsterdamned 5: Unearthing the Skeletons in Rembrandt’s Closet

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The personal lives of great artists are often as intriguing as their work. Rembrandt is no exception. His life was plagued by misfortunes involving money, love, sex, family stress, and untimely death. For your guilty pleasure, allow us to present a scandalous tip on an artist whose life was, for the record, Amsterdamned.

Rembrandt van Rijn; Lucretia; 1666; Oil on canvas; 59 1/4 x 52 5/16 x 4 1/2 in.; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; The William Hood Dunwoody Fund 34.19

During the 1650s, Rembrandt fell behind in his mortgage payments and was facing insurmountable debt. By 1655, he put his house up for sale. But the deal fell through, and Rembrandt declared bankruptcy in 1656. Thankfully, his talent didn’t fail as his fortunes fell.

The MIA’s beloved Lucretia was painted 10 years after Rembrandt declared bankruptcy. Perhaps he shared his subject’s deep knowledge of suffering.

Learn more about the skeletons in Rembrandt’s closet by visiting “Rembrandt in America” and picking up a copy of the exhibition catalog.

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