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

David and Uriah

Oil on canvas, 127 x 117 cm
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

Catalogue number: Bredius 531.

Biblical subject. King David captivated by Uriah's wife sends him to the war. In a letter to his chieftain, which he handed to him, he orders Uriah to be sent to the most dangerous place in the battle. According to another interpretation the painting represents Haman Recognizes His Fate.

Rembrandt's biblical canvases show a search for ways to present the time of the action through the means of painting. From wild Baroque gesticulation he gradually moves to focus on the main elements: composition, lighting, and colour. The bloody crimson cloak, the flashes of light on the protagonist's face and hands. and his forward inclination enable us to sense the approach of his life's dramatic end. Whoever he is, he is directed by divine providence that is indifferent to the fate of the individual yet elevates him as a particle of the Deity.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.