Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 1606 – 1669

Daniel in the Lions' Den

drawing with pen and brush (22 × 18 cm) — ca. 1652 Museum Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn biography

This work is linked to Daniel 6:17

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Tags: Daniel

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The Persian King Darius is tricked into delivering a ukase, demanding that all requests be made to the king himself and not to anyone else. Next, the conspirators find the young Jew Daniel, much loved by the king, in prayer. They tell the king, who regretfully cannot depart from his ironclad rule - his law of Medes and Persians. Daniel is thrown to the lions, with only his god to turn to for help, as Darius suggests.

The lions never give Daniel a second look. Next morning, King Darius is free to relieve Daniel from the lion's den. He realizes his decree was nonsensical, and has his conspirators and their wives and children thrown to the lions instead. This time, the lions are waiting…

You can tell Rembrandt's fascination with the felines from the intricate detail he uses for the lions. The king, looking down through the bars, on the other hand, is only roughly drawn.

Later Daniel was to be thrown into a pit with lions a second time, by king Cyrus. Perhaps this drawing shows that episode.

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