Rembrandt's Great Jewish Painting

Not only strikingly beautiful, his painting of Moses holding the Ten Commandments also happens to be one of the most authentically Jewish works of art ever created.

A detail from Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt, 1659. Wikipedia.

A detail from Moses with the Ten Commandments by Rembrandt, 1659. Wikipedia.

Observation
June 10 2016
About the author

Meir Soloveichik is the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York and director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University.


As Jews the world over prepare to celebrate Shavuot, the anniversary of the giving of the Law, few biblical scenes are more appropriate to contemplate than the spectacle of Moses bringing the tablets of the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai. And, incongruous though this may seem to many Jews, no more appropriate image of the scene exists than Rembrandt van Rijn’s depiction of the prophet holding aloft the two tablets bearing their Hebrew inscriptions (1659). Not only strikingly beautiful, the painting also happens to be one of the most authentically Jewish works of art ever created.

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More about: Art, Hebrew Bible, Moses, Religion & Holidays, Rembrandt, Shavuot, Ten Commandments