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The exhibition offers a unique opportunity to explore one of the most fascinating aspects of Rembrandt van Rijn's artistic career, his brooding and pensive religious portraits painted in the late 1650s and early 1660s. Created during a time of personal turmoil, this group of works by Rembrandt (1606–1669) has never before been shown together. The exhibition will bring together 17 of the powerfully evocative half-length images of religious figures.
Many of these dramatic portraits depict apostles and evangelists, but among the works are also representations of Christ, the Virgin, and unidentified saints and monks. The men and women in these powerful images peer out of the dark recesses of dimly lit interiors, burdened by the weight of their spiritual and emotional concerns.
This relatively large number of religious portraits has given rise to a variety of interpretations, and their existence as a group has yet to be satisfactorily explained. Their juxtaposition in the exhibition will raise questions about their relationships to one another, and, in a broader sense, to Rembrandt's life and career.
Sponsor: Generous support for this exhibition at the National Gallery of Art was provided by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Saunders, III.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.