Rembrandt:

By Robert O. Davis

Senior Curator, Museum of Church History and Art

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Born in 1606 in the Netherlands, Rembrandt van Rijn is regarded as one of the greatest of the Old Masters. His skill with oils is well known; however, it is in his etchings that we isolate his skills as a master draftsman. Rembrandt’s etchings reveal his understanding of the Bible, his faith in God, and his compassion for the human condition. Of his some 1,500 authenticated pieces, one-third are of Bible subjects. Portraying truth became his primary objective. He sought to portray the scriptures in all their depth, without relying on sectarian traditions.

At his death in 1669, an inventory of his holdings was short. It included only one book—his well-worn Dutch Bible. On his easel stood an unfinished painting of a biblical scene, Simeon and the Christ Child in the Temple.

The Church recently acquired 17 of Rembrandt’s 70 biblical etchings. Several are shown here. They are now featured together with many other Rembrandt etchings of the scriptures in an exhibit that will run through the end of December 2005 at the Museum of Church History and Art. To view the current exhibit online, visit www.lds.org/churchhistory/museum/exhibits/current.

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait
Leaning on a Stone Sill
Facsimile, signed “Rembrandt f. 1639”
Courtesy of Museum of Art, Brigham Young University

Christ and the Woman of Samaria

Christ and the Woman of Samaria
See John 4:10, 14
Signed “Rembrandt f. 1658”
Actual size 5″ x 6.38″

Christ Ministering

Christ Ministering
See Matt. 19:13–14
Unsigned, about 1640–49
Actual size 10.75″ x 15.3″

Joseph Telling His Dreams

Joseph Telling His Dreams
See Gen. 37:5, 9–11
Signed “Rembrandt f. 1638”
Actual size 4.38″ x 3″

Return of the Prodigal Son

Return of the Prodigal Son
See Luke 15:18–20
Signed “Rembrandt f. 1636”Actual size 6.25″ x 5.38″

Peter and John at the Temple Gate

Peter and John at the Temple Gate
See Acts 3:1–2
Signed “Rembrandt f. 1659”
Actual size 5.25″ x 8.38″

Judas, Pharisees in the Temple

Judas, Pharisees in the Temple
See Matt. 27:3–5
Signed “Rembrandt f. 1648”
Actual size 9″ x 5.3″

Presentation in the Temple

Presentation in the Temple
See Luke 2:27, 34
Unsigned, about 1639
Actual size 8.5″ x 11.38″

All images courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art, except as noted.