During the period of Rembrandt’s career the Amsterdam art market grew with breathtaking speed. Each painter had to secure a place professionally and make a living, which would have been no small matter. In what kind of paintings should he specialize? How could he distinguish his works from those of his colleagues and find buyers for his products? How did he acquire a reputation, and how much were clients willing to pay? Every painter would have continuously asked himself such pressing questions. These are also the leading questions of this study, which examines the depiction of Biblical and other religious themes, classical mythology, and classical and post-classical literature across the entire range of production, from expensive high-quality works to cheap pictures. The book begins at the moment that a considerable number of young artists – among them Rembrandt – settled in Amsterdam. Twenty years later, the quantity, diversity and quality of the production of history paintings, propelled by artistic rivalry, reached its summit.