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“Rembrandt: The Late Works”

Steven Zucker | CC

Daniel Blackman - published on 10/14/14 - updated on 06/07/17

had he remarried.

In 1656, Rembrandt filed for bankruptcy, selling all his possessions and paintings for pennies. His lover died in 1663. Once again, Rembrandt found himself old and alone. His son Titus cared for him. Money problems continued, leading him to sell the tomb of his beloved wife, Saskia.

One final sorrow was to come. Titus married in 1668. Seven months later, he died. His wife gave birth to their daughter, Titia, six months later. In 1669, Rembrandt died, leaving behind a widowed daughter-in-law and a baby granddaughter. There was no public notice of his death.

There is a saying, "Biography is everything." We might wonder how much of Rembrandt’s own mental state and life can be discerned in the faces and scenes he painted.  We don’t know if he uttered any final prayer on his death bed, one last supplication for mercy, but "The Return of the Prodigal Son" was one of his very last works.

Daniel Blackmanwrites from London, England.

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