(b. 1624, Midden-Beemster, d. 1673, Amsterdam)

Ruth and Boaz

Oil on panel, 49 x 39 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

The biblical story depicted in this painting is the following.

Ruth was a Moabite woman and great-grandmother of David, and therefore an ancestress of Christ, hence her place in Christian art. She was married to a Hebrew immigrant in Moab and after his death left her native land and went with her mother-in-law Naomi, to Bethlehem. Here she was allowed to glean the corn in the fields belonging to Boaz, a rich farmer and kinsman of Naomi. Ruth, true to her nature, maintained, on Naomi's advice, a modest demeanour among the young men working at the harvest. One night she went and lay at the feet of Boaz as he slept in the field. By this act Boaz saw her virtue and later decided to assume responsibilities towards her of a kinsman. In due course he married her.