Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

Simeon's Song of Praise (1631)

oil on panel (61 × 48 cm) — 1631 Museum Mauritshuis, The Hague

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Luke 2:25

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Mary and Joseph had taken Jesus to the temple to present him to God. The devout Simeon, helped by the Holy Spirit, saw that the infant might very well be the awaited Messias. He took the child in his arms and praised God. The old man said he now was ready to die, "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation".

In Luke's gospel Simeon also speaks of "a light to lighten the Gentiles". Rembrandt used that by depicting the child as the source of light.

The surprised Mary kneels next to Simeon. Joseph is next to her. He holds two pigeons: the sacrifice required for this occasion. The group is situated before the steps that lead to the high priest's throne.

Rembrandt, 25 years old, was still living in Leiden when he made this painting.

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