Abraham and Isaac, 1634, Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn (1606-1669)

Illustration

Rembrandt’s greatest paintings tell stories, using visual signs that were immediately understandable to the audience of his day. The art critic Peter Schjeldahl writes: “Was Rembrandt’s art the movies of its day? You may say so if you’re careful to add that it also performed functions of photography, fiction, theatre, theology, and social anthropology — all with an individualism that engendered continual audacities of technique and style.”

Schjeldahl, Peter, Rembrandt in Boston, The New Yorker, Nov. 10, 2003