During Rembrandt's long, tumultuous career, something happened that changed his thinking about the depiction of Jesus. When Rembrandt was in his early 40s, he shifted from turbulent scenes from the Gospel, full of sharp light and emphatic gestures, to smaller, contemplative groupings. Was the change connected to the loss in 1642 of his beloved wife Saskia, just 30 years old, and the death in infancy of three of their four children? Was the shift tied to his mounting problems with money? Long the acknowledged master of rich surfaces and roiling tableaux, Rembrandt in middle age appears to have gone in search of a consoling Christ, quieter, more meditative, somebody who would listen.
You can plot the evolution of his thinking in two versions he produced of The Supper at Emmaus, depicting an episode from the Gospel of Luke in which a pair of disciples on the road to a village outside Jerusalem are joined by a stranger....
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