By Marion Boddy-Evans
When Rembrandt moved from Leiden to Amsterdam in 1631, at the age of 25, he spent four years working in the painters’ workshop of the art dealer Hendrick Uylenburgh. Uylenburgh was instrumental in developing Rembrandt’s career as a portrait artist and getting him commissions. Rembrandt married Uylenburgh’s niece, Saskia, in 1634.
Hendrick Uylenburgh was born between 1584 and 1589; it’s thought in Leeuwarden, in the north of the Netherlands. He spent his childhood with his parents and siblings in Krakow in Poland where his father was employed by the court as a furniture maker and wood carver. By 1620, Hendrick Uylenburgh was acting as an agent for the the Polish king and buying art for his collection.
Uylenburgh moved to Amsterdam in Amsterdam in 1625, starting his art dealership, selling works of art by Dutch, Flemish, and Italian masters. Around 1630 he set up an artists’ workshop. In the mid-1650s, the business was taken over by Uylenburgh’s oldest son Gerrit.When Rembrandt left in 1635, Govert Flinck took over as head of the painter’s workshop.
During his time in Uylenburgh’s painting studio, Rembrandt completed some 50 portraits. Rembrandt subsequently bought the house next door to Ulenburgh’s studio in Breestraat. Since 1911 it’s been a museum, Rembrandt House.