Rembrandt Paints The Jewish Bride

The Jewish Bride (Dutch: Het Joodse bruidje) is a painting by Rembrandt, executed around 1667.

The painting gained its current name in the early 19th century, when an Amsterdam art collector identified the subject as that of a Jewish father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day. This interpretation is no longer accepted, and the identity of the couple is uncertain. The ambiguity is heightened by the lack of anecdotal context, leaving only the central universal theme, that of a couple joined in love. Speculative suggestions as to the couple's identity have ranged from Rembrandt's son Titus and his bride, or Amsterdam poet Miguel de Barrios and his wife. Also considered are several couples from the Old Testament, including Abraham and Sarah, or Boaz and Ruth. The likeliest identification, however, is that of Isaac and Rebekah, as described in Genesis 26:8, and is supported by a drawing by the artist of the same theme.

While technical evidence suggests that Rembrandt initially envisioned a larger and more elaborate composition, the placement of his signature at lower left indicates that its current dimensions are not significantly different from those at the time of its completion.

An elegantly dressed man and woman are in a vague, dark room. The man has lovingly placed his arm around the woman's shoulder and a hand on her breast. Very carefully she touches his hand with her fingertips. Both are staring straight ahead, they seem deep in thought. A few objects can be recognised in the obscure background: beside the woman is a plant in a pot and behind her an architectural fragment. The picture, called the 'Jewish Bride', was painted by Rembrandt in 1667. It is one of the most famous and mysterious paintings in the museum's collection.