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Petak, 05 Novembar 2021 12:19

Rembrandt's Preparatory Drawings Isaac and Rebecca based on an earlier print by Sisto Badolocchio after Raphael's fresco in the Vatican Istaknut

Raphael and members of his workshop, among them Giulio Romano, Gianfrancesco Penni, Vincenzo Tamagni, Perin del Vaga and Polidoro da Caravaggio, executed the cycle of the Bible stories in a loggia on the second floor of the Palazzi Pontifici in Vatican. The episodes were painted in the ceiling vaults, within differently shaped frames. The fresco Isaac and Rebecca Spied upon by Abimelech in 1518-1519 is a part of these Bible episodes. Rembrandt van Rijn based his drawing Isaac and Rebecca on a 1607 etching by Italian artist Sisto Badolocchio which itself derives from this ceiling fresco which was created in High Renaissance style.

The story of Isaac and Rebecca is found in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis. Isaac and his wife Rebecca were seeking refuge in the lands of king Abimelech. During a famine, they lived in the city of Gerar. Fearing that the locals might kill him because of his wife's beauty, Isaac presented her as his sister. The scene on fresco Isaac and Rebecca Spied upon by Abimelech depicts an innovative interpretation of Genesis 26:8. Isaac amorously embraces Rebecca while king Abimelech spies on them from his window in the top right from the center. Raphael used the vivid solar eclipse as a complex metaphor for their stealthy deception and lovemaking, which here occurs during the darkness of totality. The sun appears as spiky rays. King Abimelech revealed the true relationship and summoned Isaac before him, who explained the situation. He reprimanded the pair for their deceit, but also commanded that no one harm them.

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Stefan Tanasijević


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