Rembrandt Harmensz Van Rijn (1606-1669), Rembrandt is recognized as a masterful artist who imbued his works with the deepest understanding and expression of human emotion. As important as Rembrandt's paintings and drawings are, it is his etchings that have left the most profound impression on the history of art. Rembrandt freed the technique of etching from its traditional bonds, giving the etched line the freedom and vibrancy that are natural to the process itself, and did so to such an extent that he defined the very notion of etching as a distinguished artistic medium. Born in Leiden, Holland in 1606, Rembrandt attended the Latin school until 1620 and soon afterwards apprenticed under Lastman and Pynac. In the early 1620's, after leaving school, Rembrandt experimented for several years with etching. His earliest undated prints were produced about 1626 and the earliest dated prints were done in 1628. Rembrandt expressed his great genius in a series of studies, including portraits and Biblical subjects. His etchings, which numbered more than three hundred, were very well received, primarily due to the fine detail. The execution of the plates was a rare and innovative accomplishment for his time. Rembrandt's reputation was well established by 1632 when he moved to Amsterdam, where he lived for the next ten years, leading a life of luxury and extravagance as a successful artist. The late 1630's and early 1640's were marked by events that deeply influenced Rembrandt's life and art: the forced-sale of his home and financial ruin; the death of his mother; and the death of his wife, Saskia. Although there was a great demand for his work and he received numerous official commissions, Rembrandt spent the next ten years in semi-retirement, devoting himself to his work, surrounded by students and friends.