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Tuesday 13 December 2016One of Rembrandt’s rare masterpieces revealed

Divine Encounter Divine Encounter Rembrandt's Abraham and the Angels
Joanna Sheers Seidenstein

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669) took an unusual and dramatic approach to Biblical subjects, exploring the nature of divine encounter and the complexities of its representation, making use of the viewer’s knowledge of the subject whilst finding ways to bring the familiar to life. For Rembrandt, the words of St Paul, in which he emphasizes Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac as an example of unshakable faith in God, offered the ultimate artistic challenge—to represent in visual form that which is not seen. This was a challenge the artist took on again and again.

In 1646, on a tiny panel fewer than nine inches wide, Rembrandt produced one of his most captivating images. In private hands and publically exhibited only a handful of times over the years, this extraordinary painting, Abraham Entertaining the Angels, is among the artist’s lesser-known masterpieces, and it is the inspiration for this volume. It is presented alongside a selection of Rembrandt’s treatments of other biblical episodes in which Abraham encounters God and his angels. These are examined as a group and considered in relation to theological and artistic debates of the period.

There will be an accompanying exhibition at The Frick Collection, New York, May 30-August 20, 2017.

Joanna Sheers Seidenstein is the 2015–17 Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow at The Frick Collection, New York. She is a doctoral candidate at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, where she is writing a dissertation on Rembrandt’s treatments of themes from classical antiquity. From 2009 to 2014, she held the Institute’s Kaplan-Fisch Fellowship in the Connoisseurship of European Paintings. At The Frick Collection, where she has worked since 2002 as a Curatorial and Research Assistant, she has contributed to such publications as Rembrandt and His School: Masterworks from the Frick and Lugt Collections (2011). In 2015, she organized the exhibition Landscape Drawings in The Frick Collection.

Divine Encounter

Rembrandt's Abraham and the Angels

Joanna Sheers Seidenstein

RRP: US$24.95 / UK£17.95


ISBN 978-1-911282-03-7

72 pages

175 x 205 mm, (8 x 7 in), landscape

31 color illustrations

Publication date: May 2017

Publisher: D Giles Limited, London, in association with The Frick Collection, New York



Divine Encounter opens next week