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Unlike his compatriot Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn was never forgotten. Like a Beethoven of visual art, he has always been a beacon and has always inspired later artists. Famous for his biblical storytelling on a symphonic scale, he was also a supreme portraitist and master of the self-portrait in oils (he made more than forty). Public familiarity with Rembrandt’s oeuvre in the centuries before photography came from his unmatched mastery of the artist’s print.

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