The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

Painting NameThe Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Painter NameRembrandt van Rijn
Completion Date1633
Size160 cm × 128 cm (62.99 in × 50.39 in)
TechniqueOil
MaterialCanvas
Current LocationStolen

This dramatic illustration, “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee”,  is painted by the Dutch Golden Age master Rembrandt. It is a dramatic depiction of the ‘calming the storm’ miracle done by Jesus.

Jesus did many miracles in his lifetime including walking on water, cursing the fig tree, turning water into wine and many more. Those miracles and anecdotes made his apostles and followers have more faith in him. Though, as it is obvious in the stories, Jesus never exhibited his powers in public until it was a sheer necessity.

Here, he is crossing the Sea of Galilee with his apostles and other Jewish people. The sea was known for its sudden storms and taking lives of people. Such a storm came across with this pious group. The moment when the storm got furious and the onboard people started to fear – even the apostles – that exact moment is captured in the painting.

Then after, as everyone was so much scared, the apostles went to Jesus (we can see him at the lower side of the boat, seating amid the scared apostles) who was sleeping very calmly before. As if, he had noticed no unsettling movements of the boat before he was woke by his apostles. They asked him to do something.

Here, as the gospels say, Jesus stood up and pointing towards the storm, said, “Quite! Be still!” And the storm just wore off from the air as if it was a pet obeying its master.

People onboard were in awe and had strengthened faith in Jesus then after. It’s only one of the miracles of Jesus. But, every time they exhibited out of necessity –as mentioned before – not to specifically gain the faith of his apostles. For that, he used the stories and sermons and holy speeches.

Thus, the subject of the painting has a mass appeal due to its sacred subject regarding to Christian faiths. According to the artistic viewpoint, the painting is feels standing near to the chiaroscuro effect – as the source of the light in the painting seems to be only one. It was a new style in the time of Renaissance and post-renaissance and even in the Dutch Golden Age.

The dramatic depiction also has some elements of the Baroque style –which was also new at the time. Properties of baroque art are the exaggerated motions and amazing level of details, which adds some realistic accent with dramatic effect. The sea seems to raise a hand out of its turbulent surface and deliberately trying to tip the boat over. Jesus is sitting on the dark side of the painting, yet his face is glowing with some divine radiance.

Roughly ranging around 5 by 4 feet, this big oil on canvas painting is, unfortunately, in unknown state. It was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990 and haven’t found yet. It is, apparently, one of the biggest art-theft in American history.


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