Vincent van Gogh 1853 – 1890

The Raising of Lazarus

oil on canvas (50 × 65 cm) — 1890 Museum Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

This work is linked to John 11:43

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This is one of the few paintings by Vincent van Gogh on a biblical theme. It shows Lazarus just after having been risen from the dead.

Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, in whose house Jesus would sometimes stay. The Bible has it that Jesus performed the miracle out of respect for the sisters' conviction that their brother would not have died if Jesus had been around. However, it was also annoyance about their constant lamenting that made him do it.

Van Gogh was staying in a mental hospital in Saint-Rémy when he painted this work. It is based on an etching by Rembrandt that his brother Theo had sent him. Van Gogh left Jesus out of the picture and focused on Lazarus and the two sisters. Some think Lazarus' face is a self-portrait, because of the beard.

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