Friday, July 29, 2011

How Rembrandt Changed the Face of Jesus

Earlier this year a 2,000-year-old, credit-card-sized, lead booklet was found in a cave overlooking the Sea of Galilee bearing what looks to be the oldest portrait of Jesus Christ, perhaps made during the lifetime of those who knew what he looked like and, perhaps, the “true” face of Jesus. For millennia now, believers and nonbelievers have wondered what Jesus may have looked like and grasped at any and all evidence in their search. In the exhibition Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through October 11th, a turning point in that search created by the artistic innovations of Rembrandt helps us see where that search has been and, perhaps, where that search will go. In learning how Rembrandt changed the face of Jesus from divine, inhuman perfection to human accessibility we can learn what the “true” face of Jesus might truly be. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How Rembrandt Changed the Face of Jesus."

[Image: Head of Christ, c.1648 56. Attributed to Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn and Studio, Dutch (active Leiden and Amsterdam), 1606-1669. Oil on oak panel, laid into larger oak panel, 14 1/16 x 12 5/16 inches (35.8 x 31.2 cm). Framed: 28 1/4 x 23 x 2 inches (71.8 x 58.4 x 5.1 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.]

[Many thanks to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the image above and press materials for Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, which runs through October 30, 2011. Many thanks to Yale University Press for providing me with a review copy of the catalog to the exhibition, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, edited by Lloyd DeWitt.]