The great Dutch artist, Rembrandt, was a very devout
Christian. Religious art was a major focus of his paintings and etchings.
This became particularly frequent, after his wife’s death when he was 38.
From 1630 until his death in 1669, Rembrandt created over 800 paintings
representing biblical subjects. In fact “He stood practically alone as a
religious artist, creating for himself a deeply personal and spiritual
record of scriptures” (Rachliff, 1966, xix).
Jesus Christ was the main focus of his works.
Toward the latter part of his life, he moved near the Jewish quarters and
used jews as his models for Christ. “The Saviour was to be the focus of
..his search for the ‘deepest inward emotions”(Ibid, xx).
In Christ and His forgiveness, he found solace and
comfort, during the most difficult years of His life. “It is in God’s
forgiveness of repentant man, one of the greatest themes in the Gospels,
that most succoured Rembrandt during his difficult later life. (Ibid, xx).
Some authors have concluded that Rembrandt was a
member of the Mennonite sect, based on information provided by his pupil
Bernhardt Keil. Some believe that he belonged to a liberal wing of the
sect. Others do not go along with this conclusion but are willing to only
accept that he “Had a spiritual affinity to this sect, with which he
shared many basic beliefs.” (Rosemberg, 1964,181).
Today, Rembrandt’s many works are considered to be
some of the greatest art works ever created. God’s presence in Rembrandt’s
life provided inspiration for his masterpieces.
Rachliff, Owen, S. Rembrandt's Life of Christ. New
York: Aberdale Press, 1966.
Jakob, Rembrandt: Life and Work, London: Phaidon Press, 1964.