Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

oil on canvas (159 × 127 cm) — 1633 Museum Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Mark 4:37

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Despairing apostles ask Jesus to save them from the storm. Others try to control the ship, but sails are torn and lines are broken. Water is flooding into the small vessel. One of the apostles is seasick.

Rembrandt painted this work in a period when he mostly made portraits in commission. He may have felt he needed the expressive space that a history piece had to offer. It is his only painted seascape.

One of the men looks directly at the viewer, while holding onto his cap. It may very well be a self-portrait of the artist.

Of course all's well that ends well - a few words are enough to calm the sea. Jesus then asks his companions: "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"

The painting itself did not fare so well, however. It was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, in 1990 and has not been seen since.

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