Rembrandt van Rijn's Brazilian Roots

The Rembrandtplein is named after Rembrandt van Rijn, the most important Dutch painter of the Golden Age. He lived from 1606 until 1669 and he was a master in using light and dark contrast as you can see in many of his paintings. The impressive painting Night Watch is his most famous work. 
 
Red pigments were an important part of Rembrandt’s palette. He used them in complex mixtures to create purple tints or to enliven dark colours.
 
Rembrandt’s favorite red pigment was Brazilwood, brought to the Netherlands from Brazil. At ‘the Rasphuis’ in Amsterdam prisoners had to grate the wood to a powder. This was then boiled in water to extract the dye.
 

TERRA DO BRASIL

Brazil is probably the only country whose name derives from a tree. The name is shortened from Portuguese “Terra do Brasil” (land of Brazilwood). One of the most important features of brazilwood is the presence of a red pigment called brazilin.
 
Red pigments were an important part of Rembrandt’s palette. He used them in complex mixtures to create purple tints or to enliven dark colours.
 
Rembrandt’s favorite red pigment was Brazilwood, brought to the Netherlands from Brazil. At ‘the Rasphuis’ in Amsterdam prisoners had to grate the wood to a powder. This was then boiled in water to extract the dye.