Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

Sacrifice of Isaac

Sacrifice of Isaac
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
Painting, Oil on canvas, 193x132 cm
Origin: Holland, 1635

God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of his faith . Abraham set out to carry out the command, proving his belief, but God sent an angel to stay his hand just as he was about to sink the knife into his son's body.

Rembrandt captures all the the dramatism of the culminating moment in this terrible intended sacrifice. Abraham's amazement as the angel stops him with hand raised is revealed in his expressive gesture and the strong expression of his face, which almost borders on madness. We see a moment of great emotional tension, expressed in dynamic forms and lines.

The dynamism, colour and spatial resolution of this painting reflect Baroque style and are typical of Rembrandt's works of the 1630s.

Personage: Abraham
Style: Baroque
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
Theme: The Bible and Christianity
Exibition: Dutch art: 17th century

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