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By Emile Michel; et al

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This is probably a portrait of Gerrit van Uylenbourgh, Saskia’s son, whom he strikingly resembled, and that Rembrandt painted on numerous occasions, from the moment he moved in with them. Here again, the identity of the painter has split specialists’ opinion, and hence required closely controlled analyses of the work. In 1863, the Hermitage catalogue still attributed the painting to Govaert Flinck, although no mention of this work is found in the artist’s monograph, since this group of portraits (which includes two miniatures) also seemed to belong to the work of Jouderville, one of Rembrandt’s students.

In the same year, the artist completed an etching of a new version of the work, inverting the subject matter as though it were a reflection. Nearly twenty years later, a fairly free copy of the original was created in the artist’s studio, and is now in the National Gallery in Washington. 60 61 62 63 9 The baroque style, which dominated European art in the middle of the 1630s, greatly influenced Rembrandt. The Angel Stopping Abraham from Sacrificing Isaac to God is one of the best examples of this style in Rembrandt’s work.

The artist’s unique style is particularly apparent in the figure of the sleeping man and in the objects which surround him. His dark red coat is painted with quick, fluid brushstrokes, while large black strokes outline the darkest parts of his body. His features are nonetheless perfectly traced, with a sure hand which brings to mind, by the boldness of their execution, the artist’s drawings. Although this part of the painting remains incomplete, the picture as a whole, on the other hand, is delicately and carefully completed: one needs only to examine the fine embroidery on St Thomas’ coat which is a witness to the artist’s mastery and experience.

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