‘Truly, my friend Rembrandt, all honor to you.’

April 23, 2020 at 12:21 pm (Art)

Judas, repentant, returning the pieces of silver, by Rembrandt, 1629

That single gesture of the desperate Judas…a raging, whining Judas groveling for mercy he no longer hopes for or dares to show the smallest sign of expecting, his frightful visage, hair torn out of his head, his rent garment, his arms twisted, the hands clenched bloodlessly tight, fallen to his knees in a heedless outburst–that body, wholly contorted in pathetic despair.

[He] can withstand comparison with anything ever made in Italy, or f or  that matter with everything beautiful and admirable that has been preserved since the earliest antiquity….that which (and I say this in dumb amazement) a youth, a born and bred Batavian…a miller, a smooth-faced  boy, has done: joining in the figure of one man so many divers particulars and expressing so many universals. Truly, my friend Rembrandt, all honor to you.

Constantijn Huygens was astounded when he saw what the young Rembrandt – age 23! – had accomplished in this painting.

Surely there are few things in this world as inspiring as the praise of one genius for another. May this example comfort and encourage us now.

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