I was never impressed with his paintings either, however I recently went to an exhibit of his etchings. They were fabulous, The detail that the man could scratch into copper, I was astounded.
Seeing one of his paintings up close would probably help. So too seeing his etchings up close. Still the etchings I find online look like the work of a sloppy Divinci.
The comparison between Rembrandt and Divinci might be a good one. Divinci's sketches have such grace I think because there is a geometry at work. Consider the geometry involved in the Vetruvian man. Even the curls of on the heads of some of his sketched subjects seem to obey some Fibonaccian pattern.
Rembrandt was part of the movement towards realism. Realism was not just about painting/sketching homely subjects but also about painting/sketching what the eye actual saw. And for realism what the eye actually sees trumps any ideal geometry.
Perhaps the dinginess of his paintings and his half-assed chiaroscuro aren't really bad technique but rather an attempt to represent what the eye really sees. And perhaps his paintings are so blotchy and without definition because Rembrandt was a bit near-sighted.
---------- Post added 05-19-2010 at 02:01 AM ----------
Why don't you ask me something hard? Zaftig women!
This is nonsense.