Rembrandt, the Jews and the Bible

Rembrandt, the Jews and the Bible

Rembrandt, the Jews and the Bible

Rembrandt, the Jews and the Bible

Excerpt

It has often proved a comfort to me, in this era of European Jewish tragedy, to dwell upon the life and work of Rembrandt. Here was a man of Germanic ancestry who did not regard the Jews in the Holland of his day as a "misfortune," but approached them with friendly sentiments, dwelt in their midst, and portrayed their personalities and ways of life. Rembrandt, moreover, regarded the Bible as the greatest Book in the world and held it in reverent affection all his life, in affluence and poverty, in success and failure. He never wearied in his devotion to biblical themes as subjects for his paintings and other graphic presentations, and in these portrayals he was the first to have the courage to use the Jews of his environment as models for the heroes of the sacred narratives.

I have frequently referred to these remarkable facts in lectures delivered in Germany and later in America, and have felt it incumbent upon me to convey to others the solace I experienced in their contemplation. I desired, also, to furnish my coreligionists with an understanding of what Rembrandt had done for them, and to bring to them a recognition of their debt to his art so wide in scope and rich in spirit.

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