In the Gospel According to Luke (15: 11-32), Christ relates the parable of the prodigal son. A son asks his father for his inheritance and leaves the parental home, only to fritter away all his wealth. Arriving at last at sickness and poverty, he returns to his father's house. The old man is blinded by tears as he forgives his son, just as God forgives all those who repent. This parable in Rembrandt's treatment is addressed to the heart of everyone: "We should be glad: for this son was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.


  • Title: Return of the Prodigal Son
  • Creator: Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
  • Creator Death Place: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Creator Birth Place: Leiden, the Netherlands
  • Date Created: 1663 - 1665
  • Style: Bible and Christianity
  • Provenance: The painting was acquired in 1767 in Paris for the Russian Empress Catherine the Great from Duke d'Ancesuine.
  • Physical Dimensions: w2050 x h2620 mm
  • Additional Viewing Notes: This whole work is dominated by the idea of the victory of love, goodness and charity. The event is treated as the highest act of human wisdom and spiritual nobility, and it takes place in absolute silence and stillness. The drama and depth of feeling are expressed in the figures of both father and son, with all the emotional precision with which Rembrandt was endowed. The broad, sketchy brushstrokes of the artist's late style accentuate the emotion and intensity of this masterly painting.
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Canvas, oil

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