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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: The Jewish Bride

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

The Jewish Bride

oil on canvas (121 × 166 cm) — ca. 1665 Museum Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Genesis 26:8

Tags: Isaac

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Possibly Isaac and his wife Rebecca (Rebekah), but more likely a painting of two people in an old testamental setting. A 19th century art dealer analyzed the scene as a father giving a necklace to his daughter who is going to be married, hence Jewish Bride.

Another 19th century theory has Jephta and his daughter as the subjects. Jephta had promised God to sacrifice the first person who would meet him after a battle. Unfortunately, his own daughter became that person (Judges 11:35). She seemed to carry her fate with dignity.

If the painting does represent Isaac and Rebecca, it is probably based on Genesis 26:8. Isaac lives in the city of Gerar, in the south of the land Canaan. He has his neighbors believe that his wife is really his sister, because he fears that they might kill him out of jealousy his pretty wife. However, after a while the king catches them behaving as Rembrandt paints them: ‘sporting', as the KJV has it.

The cloths have very warm colors and are painted in great detail. Rembrandt used a painting-knife to apply thick layers of paint, a technique known as impasto. This resulted in even more realistic folds in the clothing.

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