Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

Belshazzar's Feast

oil on canvas (168 × 209 cm) — ca. 1635/39 Museum The National Gallery, London

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Daniel 5:5

Tags: Daniel

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The Chaldean ruler Belshazzar organizes a feast and uses the silverware his ancestor Nebuchadnezzar stole from the temple in Jerusalem. During the feast a hand appears that writes on the wall. Belshazzar consults his experts to discover the meaning of the writing, but to no avail. Only Daniel can read it – according to Rembrandt and a rabbi he consulted because the words were written vertically.

This writing is indeed the writing on the wall – the very next day the sacrilegious king is struck dead.

The meaning of the writing is explained at the end of Daniel 5.

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