Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph Rembrandt Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Bedside multi-figured portraits were frequent during the Baroque period, as well as during the Impressionist era and Rembrandt here captures a stunning scene from the Old Testament book of Genesis

There is a charming atmosphere to this very personal portraits which is now on display in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Kassel, Germany. This large canvas stands at 173 cm × 209 cm (68 in × 82 in) and was completed in 1656, when the artist was around 50 years old.

A charming aspect of this painting is that Rembrandt displays his use of light and shadow (Chiaroscuro) across multiple figures, suggesting that his feeling of family is significant here. Normally he would focus the eye on one or two figures and leave the rest darkened.

The precise tale covered in this painting is a visit to dying father Jacob by Manasseh and Ephraim, his two sons. With their father in such a bad way, it was necessary for them to visit him before he potentially may have passed away. Their sadness is combated with a comfortating touch, hopefully aiding these young boys in a harrowing experience. The younger son is seen here being blessed, partially against the wishes of Jacob who had himself brought them with him on this visit.

The Schloss Wilhelmshöhe is a Neoclassical palace in central Germany. Its Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister contains work by the likes of Nicolas Poussin, Albrecht Altdorfer, Anthony van Dyck and Albrecht Durer. This insitution also holds an antiquities collection and the Graphic Arts Collection and is amongst the finest art gallery or museum in this region of Germany.