This beautiful painting, which was stolen in 1990 and is still missing, is an incredible work by the Dutch painter, Rembrandt.
When the artist was only twenty-nine years old, he painted the scene from Mark's gospel in which Peter's ship is buffeted by wind and waves. In the scene, Jesus is sitting in the back of the boat, with one of the apostles apparently imploring him to do something. Another apostle is leaning over the side of the boat.
It is interesting to note that in this work there is not only Jesus with the Twelve Apostles, since Rembrandt painted himself in the scene. This reflects the ancient practice of lectio divina, the practice of putting oneself in a biblical scene and wondering what it would be like if I were there. What would I be doing? What would I see? What would you hear? What would it feel like? This practice of staging is part of the genius of St. Ignatius of Loyola in his reflections on spiritual exercises.
This striking Rembrandt painting is also his only painted seascape. Dated 1633, it was made shortly after the artist had moved to Amsterdam from his native Leiden, when he was establishing himself as the city's leading painter of portraits and historical subjects. The detailed rendering of the scene, the varied expressions of the figures, the relatively polished brushwork, and the bright colors are characteristic of Rembrandt's early style. Eighteenth-century critics such as Arnold Houbraken often preferred this early period to Rembrandt's later, broader, and less descriptive manner.
The painting deftly depicts the famous scene, with a raging, swirling sea threatening to topple the ship containing Christ and his disciples. The artwork is an example of Rembrandt's mastery of chiaroscuro, with dark billowing clouds dwarfing the right side of the piece. The left side is illuminated by a beam of light, showing the disciples frantically trying to control the ship. It is a chaotic scene, enhanced by the contrast of light and shadow. The ray of light means hope and, in fact, could suggest the divine intervention of Jesus. Another religious allegory can be seen on the ship's mast, which is shaped like a cross.
Sadly, the artwork is still missing after it was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. On March 18, 1990, twelve other artworks worth a total of $500 million were stolen along with this artwork. The story recently came to light in a Netflix documentary.
The artworks were stolen from the museum in the early hours of the morning by two men posing as police officers. When they were let in, they convinced the security guard on duty that there was a warrant out for his arrest. When the security guard came out from behind the reception, the two men "arrested" him, turned to the wall and handcuffed him. A second security guard arrived at the scene and was immediately handcuffed; At that point, the two men admitted that they were not police officers and that their intention was to rob the museum.
The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee is ranked no. 98 on the list of famous paintings
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