Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, born on July 15, 1606, was a Dutch painter, printmaker, and draughtsman, widely considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. He was known for his exceptional ability to render people in their various moods and dramatic guises. Rembrandt鈥檚 works suggest an acute and loving attention toward the world around him and a strong understanding of the significant detail. His works depict a wide range of styles and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes, and animal studies. His contributions to art came in a period of great wealth and cultural and scientific achievement that historians call the Dutch Golden Age, when Dutch art, especially Dutch painting, was prolific and innovative.

Rembrandt鈥檚 cultural impact is significant. He inspired numerous seventeenth-century Dutch and German painters, as well as eighteenth-century artists throughout Europe. His works have been called one of the great prophets of civilization due to his humane rendering of age-old narratives. His 40 self-portraits form an intimate autobiography. His foremost contribution in the history of printmaking was his transformation of the etching process from a relatively new reproductive technique into an art form. His reputation as the greatest etcher in the history of the medium was established in his lifetime. Despite personal tragedy and financial hardships in his later years, his etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime, his reputation as an artist remained high, and for twenty years he taught many important Dutch painters.