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Love that wishes to be kept intact

Posted August. 24, 2023 08:40,   

Updated August. 24, 2023 08:40


A couple stands in the dark. All the luxurious garments and high-end accessories worn by the lady represent their lofty and noble social status. Even with their body gestures implying how intimate their relationship is, they still look somewhat worried and unhappy. What has brought them here?

This painting is one of the most famous masterpieces by Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn, who represents the golden era of the Netherlands in the 17th century. Despite being titled “Isaac and Rebecca,” it has long been known as “The Jewish Bride” since a 19th-century art collector argued that this painting shows a Jewish father giving his daughter a necklace at her wedding.

Although there are divided interpretations of this piece, Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands where the painting is possessed, explains that Isaac and Rebecca are depicted in the painting. Isaac was one of the sons of Abraham or the founder of the Israelites. At 40, he married Rebecca but spent 20 years with no children. He loved his wife so much that he had no other woman. After their village was stricken by famine, the couple left for pasturelands in Gerar – where Palestinians, who were hostile to Israeli people, resided. Coming across local men, Isaac lied that Rebecca is his sister for fear of being murdered by the villagers who would take his attractive wife away. Still scared, when left only with his wife, the husband holds her in his arms to show his affection. The red-cheeked woman looks relieved with her hands sitting on her husband's. It is this affectionate moment that is captured on the canvas by Rembrandt.

You will do whatever it takes to keep your loved ones safe– your spouse or children. It was in the late stages of his eventful life of 63 years when he painted this piece. Early success brought him a noble and elegant life. However, his late years were bruised with bankruptcy and poverty after he lost his wife and three children at an early age. He might have portrayed in his painting his regrets and love toward his family he could not but wished to save, wishing that the couple growing old together as described in the Bible were him and his wife.