Out of family loyalty, young Ruth, a Moabite, accompanied her mother-in-law, Naomi, to her homeland of Israel after both women had been widowed. In Bethlehem, Ruth supported them both by gathering grain that had been left lying in harvested fields. While at her work, she met Boaz, one of Naomi’s wealthy relatives, on his property. Moved by Ruth’s care for her mother-inlaw, Boaz displayed generosity to her. When Naomi heard of this, she reminded her daughter-in-law of the so-called levirate marriage, which obliged a close relative to marry a widow in the family who had remained childless. Boaz agreed to this and married Ruth—in a marriage that served as a type of precursor to the marriage Christ entered into with the Church. Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, who had been apprenticed to Rembrandt until 1640 and remained a close friend of the master, depicts the moment of the first meeting in an exceptionally fine manner. Boaz, in splendid Oriental costume, turns to Ruth, who has fallen to her knees before him. The cloudy sky has opened up, casting sunlight on the scene of the conversation and recognition, by which Ruth’s fate will change for the better. Eeckhout treated this theme six times between 1651 and 1674.


  • Title: Boaz and Ruth
  • Creator: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
  • Date Created: 1651
  • Physical Dimensions: 52.7 x 61.5 cm
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Kunsthalle Bremen - Der Kunstverein in Bremen
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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