“The Raising of Lazarus” by Rembrandt
“The Raising of Lazarus” by Rembrandt, depicts the scene from the New Testament Bible in the Gospel of John, Chapter 11. Rembrandt also made drawings and etchings of this subject, but with differing compositions. The scene is in a tomb with Christ standing in the cave with his hand raised to perform the miracle. Rembrandt represents Lazarus’s rising as caused by Christ’s forceful gesture and his faith. Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha look on in amazement, as do the other spectators.
The astounded witnesses’ expressions record successive states of awareness and awe. The dramatic darkness of the cave is in contrast to the subtle colours in the costumes. The glinting highlights of the quiver and scabbard hanging on the wall were Lazarus’ weapons, as according to mediaeval legend, Lazarus was a soldier.
“The Raising of Lazarus” etching by Rembrandt – 1642 from the Rijksmuseum Museum
Rembrandt painted and drew many stories and parables of the Bible as recognisable and familiar images. The Dutch Reformed Calvinism at Rembrandt’s time forbade religious art in churches. Thus there were limited public commissions for paintings of biblical subjects. Fortunately, private patronage for them thrived, and Rembrandt tapped into this demand.
The Raising of Lazarus after Rembrandt by Vincent van Gogh
Rembrandt’s paintings have influenced many successive painters, including Van Gogh who also painted a picture called “The Raising of Lazarus (after Rembrandt)”, based on a print of the Rembrandt image. Van Gogh depiction left out the central figure of Christ with his arm raised he focused on the human suffering and identified with Lazarus in the tomb. Lazarus in the Van Gogh painting below, has a red beard, just like Van Gogh.
Prints from other masters inspired Van Gogh during his stay at the hospital in Saint-Rémy, and he made his version of the Raising of Lazarus from an etching by Rembrandt. With his ginger beard, Lazarus bears some resemblance to Van Gogh himself. The painter may have seen a parallel between Lazarus’ return from the dead and his struggle from mental illness towards recovery.
The Raising of Lazarus after Rembrandt by Vincent van Gogh (1890)
This painting is based on an etching by Rembrandt that Van Gogh’s brother Theo had sent him. Van Gogh seems to be focused on the theme of human suffering. He was identifying with Lazarus in the tomb. While he also imagined the reaction of two acquaintances from Arles, Mrs Roulin, in the green dress, and Mrs Ginoux, in a dress with colourful stripes. Christ is depicted symbolically through the sun to evoke the healing powers of faith. Spiritual meaning and emotional comfort were expressed through symbolism and colour.
Copies of previous masters by Vincent van Gogh form a distinguished group of paintings created by Vincent van Gogh between 1887 and early 1890. While at Saint-Paul asylum, where Van Gogh admitted himself, he explored famous works from renowned artists. Van Gogh created over 30 artworks that were copies inspired by some of his favourite artists. However, rather than replicate, Van Gogh sought to translate the subjects and composition through his unique perspective of colour and technique.
Rembrandt van Rijn was an innovative and prolific master draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Rembrandt’s works depict a range of styles and subjects, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies. Rembrandt van Rijn was an innovative and prolific master draughtsman, painter, and printmaker. He is generally considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history. Rembrandt’s works depict a range of styles and subjects, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies.
The Raising of Lazarus (after Rembrandt) by Vincent van Gogh
- Date: 1890
- Location created: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France
- Medium: oil on paper
- Dimensions: 50 cm x 65.5 cm
- Museums: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- The Polish Rider
- The Night Watch
- The Jewish Bride
- The Raising of Lazarus
- Christ and the Woman of Samaria
- Self Portrait at the Age of 63
Explore the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- “The Raising of Lazarus” by Rembrandt
- “Magdalene with the Smoking Flame” by Georges de La Tour
- Shiva as the Lord of Dance
- Masterpieces of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Rembrandt and Van Gogh on the meaning of resurrection?
- How did the two artists express spiritual meaning through symbolism and colour?
The Raising of Lazarus
- Title: The Raising of Lazarus
- Artist: Rembrandt
- Year: 1630-1632
- Medium: Oil on oak panel
- Dimensions H: 96.4 cm (38 in). W: 81.3 cm (32 in).
- Museum: Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Name: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
- Born: 1606 – Leiden, Dutch Republic (now the Netherlands)
- Died: 1669 (aged 63) – Amsterdam, Dutch Republic (Netherlands)
- Nationality: Dutch
- Movement: Dutch Golden Age, Baroque
- Notable Works:
“A painting is finished when the artist says it is finished.”
Photo Credit: 1) Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 2) By Vincent van Gogh [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons 3) Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons