REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn
(b. 1606, Leiden, d. 1669, Amsterdam)

Supper at Emmaus

c. 1629
Oil on paper, 39 x 42 cm
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris

Catalogue number: Bredius 539.

In or about 1629 Rembrandt, painted this striking first version of this theme. Christ starts back in his chair, dramatically silhouetted against a blinding light as he makes himself known by the breaking of bread to the two disciples; in the next instant he will vanish out of their sight (St. Luke, Chapter XXIV, vv. 30-31). One disciple recoils in alarm, while the other, either terrified out of his mind or overcome with adoration, bows down at Christ's feet; this figure, whose back is below the level of the table, is so deeply immersed in shadow as to be scarcely visible in reproductions of the painting. The composition is asymmetrical and turbulent, like others by Rembrandt during his years in Leiden.