Series with scenes from the Passion of Christ (1633-46)

Rembrandt received a commission from the court in about 1628 through Constantijn Huygens, secretary to the Prince of Orange, for five paintings of the Passion of Christ. The series started with the Raising of the Cross and Descent from the Cross. He was hired to create small versions of Rubens famous altarpieces in Antwerp, the Raising of the Cross and the Descent from the Cross. Huygens asked Rembrandt to produce paintings less than one-twenty-fifth the size of the Rubenses.

The two paintings, finished in 1633 are plainly modelled on Rubens's versions of those subjects. When they were delivered in 1633, a new commission followed, for three more paintings of scenes from the Passion of Christ, The Entombment, The Resurrection and The Ascension. The first to be delivered, early in 1636, was The Ascension, the last in iconographic order.

The reception of the Ascension was not enthusiastic and did not lead to new commissions from The Hague. The final two pieces from the commission of 1633, The Entombment and The Resurrection, were completed in 1639. The series was finally completed only in 1646, with a commission for two other canvases with scenes from the life of Christ as an infant, the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Circumcision (now lost, it is known from a copy in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig).

Preview Picture Data File Info Comment
The Raising the Cross
c. 1633
Oil on canvas, 96 x 72 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
83 Kb

The Descent from the Cross
c. 1633
Oil on canvas, 90 x 65 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
108 Kb

The Descent from the Cross (detail)
c. 1633
Oil on canvas
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
151 Kb

The Entombment of Christ
Oil on canvas, 93 x 70 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
119 Kb

The Resurrection of Christ
c. 1639
Oil on canvas, 92 x 67 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
85 Kb

The Ascension of Christ
Oil on canvas, 93 x 69 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
144 Kb

Adoration of the Shepherds
Oil on canvas, 97 x 72 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

True Color
108 Kb

Entombment of Christ
c. 1635
Oil on panel, 32 x 41 cm
Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow

True Color
162 Kb

Christ on the Cross
Oil on canvas on panel, 100 x 73 cm
Collégial Saint Vincent, Le Mas d'Agenais

True Color
77 Kb

Summary of works by Rembrandt
New Testament subjects | until 1639 | 1640s | 1650-60s
Passion of Christ | Old Testament subjects
Mythological subjects | Historical subjects
Portraits | until 1632 | 1633-39 | 1640s | 1650s | 1660s
Group portraits | Self-portraits
Landscapes | Miscellaneous subjects
Paintings in the style of Rembrandt (not by Rembrandt)
Etchings | Drawings