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The north light streamed into the studio while my father, Rembrandt, painted my portrait.


“Sit very still, Titus,” he said, “and I will paint you the way I see you.”


I heard the ships’ bells echo along the canals of Amsterdam as I watched him brush a layer of oil paint onto the canvas. It was then that I decided to write this story about my father and how I learned to see the world through his eyes.



Rembrandt is one of the most recognized and beloved painters in the world. He was born in the Netherlands at a time when the arts were just beginning to blossom and he was free to paint as he wished. Rembrandt painted with honest and integrity, finding beauty and drama in everyday things. His use of light against darkness is the telltale sign of his art, the subjects of his paintings glowing amidst shadowy backgrounds.


Just as most sons wish to know and understand their fathers, so did Rembrandt’s son Titus. Together they would walk along the streets and rivers of Amsterdam while Rembrandt taught Titus to see the world as he saw it. Titus began to help his father with his business and began painting himself. Over time, Titus was able to appreciate the way his father saw the world.



I listened to the bells ringing on the ships sailing out to sea as sunlight streamed through the leaded glass windows, flooding the studio with golden light. I have learned to see through my father’s eyes.

Rembrandt and Titus: Artist and Son

  • Thomas Locker is the illustrator of more than thirty books for children, many of which he also wrote, including Cloud Dance and Between Earth & Sky, as well as a series for Fulcrum Publishing on famous environmentalists, including John Muir: America’s NaturalistWalking with Henry, and Rachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder. His books have received many awards, including the John Burroughs Award, NCTE Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts, NSTA-CBS Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children, the Christopher Awards, and the Knickerbocker Lifetime Achievement Award. 


    Madeleine Comora is an author and poet whose work has appeared in many anthologies. In researching the life of Rembrandt and his son, Titus, Madeleine traveled to Amsterdam to visit the house where they lived; she saw the rooms they shared and the studio where they both worked. She teaches poetry at the University of California—Los Angeles in the Extension Writer’s Program and is coauthor of the award-winning picture book George Washington’s Teeth. She lives in Southern California.

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