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Rembrandt, The Entombment of Christ (over the Raising of Lazarus)

c. 1635

British Museum

British Museum

What began as a drawing after a work by Rembrandt’s friend and rival Jan Lievens (1607–74) soon became the stimulus for a new idea entirely. Jacob Louys’s print after Lievens’s 'Raising of Lazarus' [S.28] shows Christ presiding over the tomb from which Lazarus is being returned to life. Its composition provided the imaginative impetus for this sketch of an Entombment, with Christ carried down into the same tomb. The drawing was made after Rembrandt had already completed a painting responding to Lievens’s original work (c. 1626–32, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), indicating that Rembrandt felt there was still more he could extract from the image. Over the next few years he made at least two paintings of the Entombment; one is held in the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, and another in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

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