Until now he has remained a mystery, leaving only a few sentences, the letters of his bankruptcy, a mistress's notarized complaint - and the most glorious, compassionate paintings ever to astonish the eye.
The first pure biography of this enigmatic legend is a fascinating detective story in which, clue by clue, the man himself emerges. Charles Mee, historian and playwright, renders a finely textured portrait of the artist against a richly described background of seventeenth-century life.
He captures the human Rembrandt, the ordinary man and unexpected genius. We see the youthful, arrogant poseur, son of a small-town miller, seeking a life of art amid the cosmopolitan bustle of Amsterdam. We see the outsider struggling to rise without patron or court commissions, failing as an entrepreneur while immortalizing simple people in works of haunting complexity.
We see the inspired moments behind masterworks like The Anatomy Lesson and Nightwatch and all the conflicting guises of their creator - bohemian and aspiring bourgeois, husband and lover, honored genius, penurious vagabond, and finally, the essential dichotomy - the egocentric master who, despite his intense self-absorption, captured the diversity of humanity with extraordinary empathy, sensitivity, and grace.