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Rembrandt’s Head of Christ: The Envisioned Face of Christ and Rembrandt

24.01.2021
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Who was Rembrandt

Who Was Rembrandt?

Short bio for you all, Rembrandt was a Dutch artist (painter) who crafted the vision idea of Jesus. Based in Amsterdam, specifically living in the “Jewish Quarter” of the city, there was talk and skepticism that Rembrandt was indeed Jewish himself. This is a bit funny (ironic) because Rembrandt has become the full facial reference of Jesus Christ.

Being a painter in the 15th century, Rembrandt had a devoted focus towards two humans through his art: the face of Jesus and the face of his own. Why he is so notable for his famous paintings of Jesus Christ? Maybe that is because he meshed and formed his own face to be the reveal of Jesus himself. And it worked! For 90 self-portraits, the most recognized and cherished Rembrandt painting of Jesus (commonly known and referred to as Rembrandt Head of Christ), has stood remarkably since the time and years of its discovery.

What Is Rembrandt’s Head of Christ?

Let us explain the exact details of this historic self-portrait from Rembrandt. He wasn’t only his own biggest fan, but he was a fan and the devoted believer to Jesus and his physical attributes. From the smallest exaggerations to the biggest features, Rembrandt made sure to merge his own appearance and that of the described Jesus, to formulate and conceive a portrait painting that would serve as the visual relation to Jesus for years to come and continue.

What Are the Extremes of This Rembrandt’s Painting of Jesus?

What is Rembrandt’s Head of Christ

Maybe not so much extreme but more so the definitive details of this painting, in particular, are the reason that it became so popular. Though most all of Rembrandt’s self-portraits were his face (and the face of Jesus) on canvas, a lot of the time observers referenced the portraits to Jewish standing men. Along with that conversation, the self-portraits differed by head angle, head tilt, light and shadowing, and whether or not the hands would be shown. These paintings by Rembrandt did have one commonality (besides the merging of Rembrandt and the face of Jesus), but that was the brown cloak that was worn and painted for clothing in all 90 self-portraits.

What Are the Details of the Major Rembrandt’s Head of Christ?

For the specific portrait chosen to be the renowned reference of Jesus Christ in all his physical appearance here are the details you need to know:

  • The painting was done between the 1640s-1650s (we think 1648) in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • It is now at the Gemaldegalerie in Berlin, Germany.
  • The head is turned three quarters to the left.
  • The head is also tilted at a small incline.
  • The face contains a dark, full-grown, beard.
  • Long dark brown curly hair shapes the face.
  • He is wearing a brown cloak with light (almost) shining in toward the centerfold.

Rembrandt and Jesus

Back in this time period of the 15th century, the knowing visual that is Jesus Christ and his features were from being truly established. Of course, references had been made, and many sketches and drawings of the face of Christ were revealed, but not until Rembrandt and his selfishness, when all became more settled.

The blend between the self-portraits of Rembrandt and his idea of the face of Jesus essentially created the foundation for reference to a visual of Jesus Christ. Thus, the Head of Christ (Rembrandt) is now known and referred to as one of the most influential paintings to exist. Although there were descriptions and such offered believers and the public the essence of Jesus and his visual appeal, Rembrandt is the master that brought it all to the conceived canvas.

The Facts about Rembrandt

Facts of Rembrandt's head of christ
  • Rembrandt was notable for his ability to capture the full human features through sketch, etch, and painting techniques.
  • He used extreme detailed painting/etching style – using the etching needle – to achieve his recognized portraits (thus eventually creating the Rembrandt Jesus painting).
  • His work was the first to be referenced by those of the world to connect to a visual representation of Jesus Christ.
  • His work eventually found its way to several significant museums worldwide including the Louvre in Paris, the Philadelphia Art Museum (Pennsylvania, USA), and in Germany at Gemaldegalerie (Berlin) and the Bode Museum (previously Kaiser Friedrich Museum – Berlin).

Interesting Facts about Rembrandt’s Head of Christ

  • The first museum, where this self-portrait was, was the Kaiser Friedrich Museum (Berlin).
  • In World War ll, it was stored in a vault in the now Bode Museum (Kaiser Friedrich Museum) and remounted after the end of the war to West-Berlin.
  • In 1959, the painting was stolen but recovered two years later.
  • In 2011 it was included in the traveling exhibition of Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus which took place in different museums including Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (Michigan, USA), Philadelphia Museum of Art (Pennsylvania, USA), and The Louvre (Paris, France).
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