With the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York The Rembrandt Database started as a pilot project in 2008. In 2011, the Rembrandt Database project grant from the Mellon Foundation was renewed for three years, making it possible to continue working on an interface for the project of which a beta version was launched in September 2012.

In 2015, the Rembrandt Database was awarded with a third project grant from the Mellon Foundation for three years. This last grant was not only used to continue working on the content of the database, but also on its sustainability and maintainability for the future.

In 2018, a renewed version of the interface, a derivative of the RKD interface, was launched. Since then the database is no longer considered to be a project, but a sustainable product of the RKD that will be continually updated and complemented.