Museum het Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam

Photo © Lian Chang

With the release of Peter Greenaway’s film Nightwatching, it’s an opportune time to visit Rembrandt’s house in Amsterdam, where he painted his masterpiece The Night Watch. And what a strange place it is.

Rembrandt was very wealthy when he bought Rembrandthuis and he spent all of his money filling it with weird objects, which he obsessively sketched. Behind his main studio is a room filled from floor to ceiling with skulls, stuffed animals, birds, insects, jewellery and bits of pottery. It all cost a fortune and, according to the film at least, The Night Watch was the beginning of his end.

He died in poverty and is buried in an unknown grave. Looking at his strange collections is a moving experience. We don’t know a lot about Rembrandt but spend an hour in his house, and you feel like you know him a bit better.

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