REMBRANDT VAN RIJN
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 AHe 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. AThe 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. AIt 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, AHad 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