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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: St James the Elder

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

St James the Elder

oil on canvas (92 × 75 cm) — 1661
private collection

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Acts 12:2

This is one of the five portraits Rembrandt made of apostles in 1661. Like the other ones it shows the lined face of contemplative man, dressed in 17th century style clothes. This canvas is exceptional in the series as the apostle is shown in profile. In the other works they are shown frontally or in three quarter profile.

St James can be identified by his usual iconographic attribute: the walking stick leaning against the wall. Note his weathered hands. They emphasize the prayer where his thoughts dwell.

The painting was sold at auction in 2007 for $25.8 million to an unknown bidder.

Tags: Apostles

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Title: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn: St James the Elder
Author / citation: here
First published: 27 September 2005
Last modified: 4 April 2010