"Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Rembrandt van Rijn

1633, oil on canvas


The Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn produced his masterwork "Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee" in 1633 during a relocation from Amsterdam to Leidan. Technically classified as a history (a genre of painting in which an artist depicts a narration of story—most often mythological), the work draws from the Biblical account from Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8 in which Jesus rescues his disciples by calming a sudden storm. This work is Rembrandt's largest and earliest history painting, produced when he was only twenty-nine years old.

Reflection Questions

  1. Rembrandt uses various artistic elements to highlight opposing emotions. Name and describe some of them.
  2. Is there significance in the position of Jesus in the painting? (i.e., on the non-active side of the boat, in the shadows, and surrounded)
  3. What interpretation does Rembrandt offer to this Biblical story? How much has he embellished or imagined? 
  4. How might a viewer see this painting as a statement about overcoming obstacles? 

Previous Citation(s)
This image is in the public domain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Storm_on_the_Sea_of_Galilee#/media/File:Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee.jpg

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