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Oil paint making at Museum Rembrandthuis

Rembrandthuis Amsterdam

Oil paint making demonstrations at the Rembrandt House

The Rembrandt House holds daily free demonstrations in the master’s reconstructed studio, where visitors can watch and see how paint was made in Rembrandt’s time. Pigments and oil are turned into beautifully colored paints, which is a tribute to craftsmanship and a fascinating authentic process to see!

Rembrandthuis pigmenten Rembrandthuis Amsterdam pigmenten

Rembrandt’s pigments

In the 17th-century artists did not buy their paints ready-made in tubes, they made them themselves. The painters would buy pigments (raw materials in the form of powder) from vendors (e.g. directly from windmills, where pigments were grinded) and bring them back to their workshop. There they would mix the pigments with oil (most commonly linseed oil) on their pallet. Mixing their own paint allowed artists to determine the amount of paint they needed for the painting they were working on. As a result no pigments were wasted.

Rembrandt only used twelve pigments – raw materials in the form of powder – for most of his paintings. Yet he could achieve a whole range of effects by varying the thickness, texture and transparency of the paint layers. And the Rembrandt House Museum has an overview of the pigments Rembrandt used, with their most important characteristics and properties.

Rembrandt House museum

Rembrandt House is a historic 17th-century monument and art museum in the center of Amsterdam. The master painter Rembrandt van Rijn has lived and worked there from 1639 to 1658. The 17th-century interior has been reconstructed and the collection contains Rembrandt’s etchings and paintings of his contemporaries. Therefore today this museum pays tribute to the artist’s life and career.

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