Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

The Raising of Lazarus (1630)

oil on panel (93 × 81 cm) — 1630 Museum County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to John 11:43

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Many faithful are convinced that on Judgment Day they will rise again. This conviction stems from, among other sources, John 11:25: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies."

To the faithful, the story of Lazarus is evidence of the possibility of resurrection. Hence perhaps the popularity of the story and its numerous expressions in art.

Rembrandt situates the scene in a tomb. Lazarus' sisters Mary and Martha look on in amazement, as do the other spectators. Their expressions show successive states of awareness and awe about what is happening right before their eyes. On the wall are Lazarus' weapons – according to some mediaeval story, Lazarus was a soldier.

This is the only painting Rembrandt made about the story of Lazarus. He also made a few etchings of the scene, in 1632 and 1642.

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