The Raising of the Cross (1633) by Rembrandt



A 1633 work by Rembrandt depicting Jesus on the Cross; however, the scene is more a metaphor of Rembrandt's struggle to depict the scene than merely an illustration of the scene itself: the man in the blue beret raising the cross is of course a self-portrait of Rembrandt, but also so are many of the assistants around him. It is even speculated that the overseer in the white turban in the background is yet another self-portrait, considering that the turban seen there is completely inappropriate for the time period; however, painters typically wore turbans in their own studios to keep paint from getting in their hair, and many created self portraits wearing their turbans. As such, this work overall isn't necessarily an illustration of a Biblical scene, but rather a visual depiction of Rembrandt's artistic process with the work.

Born July 15, 1606 in the city of Leiden, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch painter and etcher who would become known as one of the greatest painters and printmakers in European history, and the most important in Dutch history. Religious matters and scenes come up often in Rembrandt's works, and his own personal life was fraught with the religious tension of the Reformation; his mother was a Roman Catholic, and his father belonged to the Dutch Reformed Church. As a youth Rembrandt attended Latin school, but had a much more fervent interest in painting, which led to him being apprenticed to a Leiden history painter by the name of Jacob van Swanenburgh, for three years. After a brief but important apprenticeship to Pieter Lastman (for six months), Rembrandt eventually opened up his own workshop/studio in 1624 (or 1625), and soon after began accepting students. In 1629, Rembrandt was discovered by Dutch statesman Constantijn Huygens, the father of Dutch mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens; Constantijn would procure important commissions for Rembrandt from the court of The Hague, and the exposure led to Prince Frederik Hendrik continuing to buy Rembrandt paintings until 1646. Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631, and there would enjoy tremendous success as a portraitist, and would eventually marry Saskia van Uylenburgh, the cousin of a familiar art dealer. After awhile they settled in the upscale 'Breestraat,' what was then becoming the Jewish quarter, and here Rembrandt would find models for his Old Testament scenes. However, the mortgage for this residence led him to financial problems later in life. Their marriage suffered many difficulties, with three of their four children dying shortly after birth, and Saskia dying a year after the third child's death. Rembrandt would eventually have a daughter, Cornelia, by Hendrickje Stoffels, who was originally his maid, though they were not married by church law at the time and as a result Hendrickje was banned from receiving communion by the Dutch Reformed Church. Rembrandt would go on to outlive both Hendrickje as well as his son, Titus, but die a year later in 1669. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery of Westerkerk, a Protestant church in Amsterdam.



Includes a border on all sides to allow for matting and framing.