Rembrant changed how the world saw Jesus
The vaguely European-featured Jesus with a brown beard and hair was pretty much the standard for most of history, at least until Rembrandt van Rijn, the greatest painter, draftsman and printmaker of the Dutch Golden Age, came along.
In the mid-17th century he and students at his Amsterdam studio painted a series of at least eight heads of Christ which set the liturgical art world on its ear.
Rembrandt’s studio was in a section of Amsterdam with a fairly large Jewish population, and it is believed the same young Jewish man was the model for all the portraits, which look remarkably like the olive-skinned and dark-haired men you would see strolling the Galilee shore today.
For the first time, six of these paintings are brought together for an exhibit, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, which was first exhibited at the Louvre in Paris and now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Aug. 3-Oct. 30) after which it will travel to the Detroit Institute of Art (Nov. 20-Feb. 12).
“Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus marks the first time that an exhibition including a substantial group of paintings by Rembrandt will be seen in Philadelphia,” said Timothy Rub, director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.