The late works

In the 1640s we see Rembrandt feeling his way towards a truthful portrayal of Christ. The profusion of works reflects the range of possibilities he was exploring. There are no longer one but several Christs and, most significantly, the figure of Jesus often seems to be stepping aside in favor of the miracles he is performing. Rembrandt’s attention oscillates between Jesus and the people he is addressing. It is now also the truthful depiction of history that the artist is striving for.
Rembrandt was an assiduous reader of the Bible. This prevailing interest in the life of Jesus heightened Rembrandt’s familiarity with the story of the genesis of Christianity. It therefore seems only natural that, steeped in the biblical past, and living in close proximity to Jewish culture, he repeatedly depicted Christ while portraying members of the Jewish community in Amsterdam. And this remarkable game of mirrors between his contemporaries and history painting is crucial to understanding Rembrandt’s vision of Christ.