Looking For Rembrandt

Confirmed for BBC Four on 9 April at 9pm to 10pm

Ep 1/3

Tuesday 9 April



Rembrandt's art is much loved and admired, but his remarkable life is less well known. In this anniversary year, marking 350 years since his death, his surprising story is told from an unusual perspective - his own.

This three-part series sets out to reveal the answers behind the mysteries and shadows still lurking in Rembrandt’s personal life.

Actor Toby Jones assumes the voice of the artist to explore how this explosive talent, in his youth the darling of Dutch high society, end up in a lowly rented grave. How could an artist made rich by the patronage of Amsterdam’s wealthiest elite come to declare bankruptcy? And why did he fall out of favour at a time when he was painting his greatest masterpieces?

In the first of three episodes we learn how Rembrandt arrived in Amsterdam ‘like a thunderclap’ and was courted by the city’s wealthy elite, before falling into conflict with the city’s most powerful patrons. Jones explores the highs and lows of Rembrandt’s personal life too: from the new-found riches enjoyed with his wife, Saskia van Uylenburgh, to the tragedies that unfolded before him, leading to some of his most celebrated work.

Looking For Rembrandt (3 x 60) is a BBC Arts programme for BBC Four, produced by Matchlight Productions. Emma Cahusac, Commissioning Editor, BBC Arts. Written and directed by Tim Niel, Executive Producer Ross Wilson.

Pictured: Restorer Martin Bijl retouches a 17th century painting in his studio