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Episode 1

Rembrandt's art is much loved and admired, but his remarkable life is less well-known. 350 years after his death, his surprising story told from an unusual perspective – his own.

Rembrandt arrives in Amsterdam ‘like a thunderclap’ and his star rises as he is courted by the city’s wealthy elite. But he has grander plans to be a great history painter. His meticulous attention to emotion means he takes far too long to complete important commissions, bringing him into conflict with Amsterdam’s most powerful patrons.

He falls in love with and marries Saskia van Uylenburgh. Together they enjoy their new-found riches, amassing an incredible personal collection of artwork, exotic curios, stuffed animals and valuable prints, much of which Rembrandt buys at auctions with alarming regularity. He begins to attract a reputation – one that would dog him throughout his life and even after his death – for being a spendthrift. Yet he continues to create works that declare himself to be among the great old masters like Titian, Raphael and Michelangelo. A hubris which is dramatically paralleled with personal tragedies – the deaths of three of his children in infancy, and Saskia – which nonetheless influence some of his most poignant and moving works

60 minutes

Last on

Wed 3 Jun 2020 00:00

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:03

    Nils Frahm


  • 00:21

    Jacques Loussier

    Passacaille En Ut Mineur Bwv 582

  • 00:35

    Jacques Loussier

    Toccata En Ut Majeur Bwv 564 Fugue

  • 00:43

    Jacques Loussier

    Toccata En Ut Majeur Bwv 564 Toccata


Role Contributor
Writer Tim Niel
Director Tim Niel
Executive Producer Ross Wilson


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