Rembrandt Bugatti (1884–1916) was an Italian sculptor, known primarily for his bronze sculptures of wildlife subjects.
Born in Milan, into a family with a strong and long tradition in the arts, Rembrandt Bugatti was the second son of Carlo Bugatti and his wife, Teresa Lorioli.
His father was known for his exotic and fanciful furniture, silver, metalwork, and musical instruments. His older brother was Ettore Bugatti who became one of the world's most famous automobile manufacturers.
As a child he hung around his father's workshop and was encouraged to try sculpting in plasticine by the family friend and renowned Russian sculptor, Prince Paolo Troubetzkoy.
In his short life he produced more than 300 works -- an oeuvre which is unparalleled for descriptive intensity and diversity of form and subject. Making his first professional appearance at the Venice Biennale in 1902, Bugatti followed in the tradition of the great Impressionists Medardo Rosso, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin, with additional influences from Art Nouveau and Symbolism.
Bugatti's love of nature led to him spending a great deal of time in the wildlife sanctuary near the Jardin des Plantes in Paris or at the Antwerp Zoo where he studied the features and movement of exotic animals. His animal figures such as elephants, panthers, and lions became his most valuable and popular works.
The silver elephant mascot that sits on top of the radiator of the Bugatti Royale was cast from one of Rembrandt's original sculptures.
During World War I the Antwerp Zoo was forced to kill most of its wild livestock. This deeply affected Bugatti because he had used many of these animals as subjects for his sculptures. Tragically, in 1916, at the age of 31, he ended his own life.