This French-German-Dutch biopic on the life of 17th century Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn is told in flashbacks from the point-of-view of the aged artist. Soon after establishing his career as a painter in Amsterdam, he marries the radiant Saskia. As he makes a name for himself, he can soon afford to buy a large house by teaching wealthy aristocrats how to paint. However, the couple's happiness is short-lived; Saskia dies soon after bearing their son, Titus. Crushed, van Rijn seeks comfort first in the arms of his maid Geertje and then with his second wife, Hendrickje, who gives birth to a daughter. In spite of his genius, van Rijn's determinedly eccentric behavior alienates the very members of the elite who were paying his bills. At one point, the artist's home and belongings, including many of his paintings, are seized and sold for humiliatingly low prices in a rigged auction.