The Dormition of Rembrandt van Rijn
Rembrandt van Rijn is laid out in his studio before burial. The dark, cavern-like background is in the style of his late paintings. Mourners and a distraught Sybil look on while eager art dealers remove any paintings by the Master that remain. (A similar incident occurred upon the death in Paris of Modigliani in 1920). A worried terrier grips what was probably Rembrandt's final canvas “The Return of the Prodigal Son” while looking anxiously towards his late master. The landscape of Monaco is in the distance.
The title of the painting refers to the Virgin being taken to heaven upon her death. It was a favourite subject in medieval Greek orthodox painting treated by, amongst others, the early El Greco. Italian artists did not adopt the subject until the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent, 1545 - 63. Federico Barocci was the principal exponent of the bright emotional colours and theatrical mannerism of the new style. The most notorious version of the “Death of the Virgin” is Caravaggio's. Rejected in 1606 by the church of Santa Maria della Scala in Rome for which it was intended, this massive canvas is now in the Louvre.
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