• Holy Family

    Artist:
    Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. 1606-1669
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    117x91 cm

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn. 1606-1669

Holy Family

Holland, 1645

One of the key subjects for Rembrandt was the Holy Family that perhaps for him embodied the lost dream of a happy home life. In the Hermitage version, painted in 1645, the artist produced his most profound treatment of the subject in terms of content as well as the most expressively painted. Peace and calm reign in the carpenter’s modest dwelling: burning logs crackle, quiet strokes of the axe come from Joseph at his workbench and the pages of the book in the young Mary’s lap rustle. The infant Christ has stirred in His sleep and she leaves her reading to glance with care at the wicker cradle. What is almost a genre scene that could take place in any Dutch home is elevated and spiritualized by Rembrandt’s wonderful chiaroscuro. For this Dutch master light is not only a physical, but also a spiritual phenomenon. Angels hover in its flow. It emerges from the fire, the embodiment of the domestic hearth, lights Jesus’ cradle and Mary’s face and shines on the pages of the Bible. Light stands for life itself, love and wisdom. The face of the young mother bears a resemblance to Hendrickje Stoffels who entered Rembrandt’s house as a servant and became the artist’s devoted companion in his later life. Condemned for her behaviour, spurned by society, the young woman remained with him right to his death, running his household and serving as a model for many of the great Dutchman’s works.

Title:

Holy Family

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

117x91 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1772; acquired from the collection of L.A. Crozat, Baron de Thiers, in Paris

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-741

Category:

Collection:

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