By Emile Michel; et al
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Etching. specialists judged that the flaws apparent in the painting indicated that it was the work of a student, or the exercise of an unknown artist. In 1970, the issue was finally resolved after the painting was examined under ultraviolet rays, confirming that it was indeed an original canvas on which the artist, still in the process of mastering his skills, had proceeded to repaint certain parts at different times. This led to restorations and smudges in the varnish, notably on the left forearm of the figure of Christ, in the upper left-hand corner of the painting, to the left of the moneychanger’s profile located at the bottom of the scene, and along the border at the bottom of the canvas.
No. 732. Acquired between 1770 and 1775. Spring, Rembrandt depicted his first wife, Saskia van Uylenbourgh, the daughter of the burgomaster Leewerden Rumbartus van Uylenbourgh. Engaged in 1633, the young couple were married the following year, and it was probably on this occasion that the artist created this work. A silver point drawing (in Berlin), an oil paint portrait (in Dresden) as well as a variation on the Hermitage painting (in London) are also among the portraits of Saskia which belong to this happy period in Rembrandt’s life.
Below: The Angel Stopping Abraham from Sacrificing Isaac, 1636. Drawing. British Museum, London. to immortalise. The knife dropped by the elderly man, the angel’s impetuous flight, the brusque and vivid manner in which Abraham turns his head and the expression on his face, down to the tumultuous creases in the cloth, the protagonists’ disordered hair, the worrying reflections of light in their faces spectacular and theatrical impact. The manner in which Rembrandt chose to render the scene naturally diminishes the authenticity traditional of the artist’s style, but by transcending his own style he achieves another, equally important aim, namely to provoke in the viewer an emotion so strong as to shake him to the very core of his being.