Belshazzar's Feast by Rembrandt

The painting is the most important history painting by Rembrandt in a British Collection and the first startlingly dramatic Baroque painting supported by the Art Fund.

Details

Medium:
Oil on wood
Dimensions:
167.7 x 209.2 cm
Art Fund grant:
£10,000 ( Total: £170,000)
Acquired in:
1964
Vendor:
Earl of Derby

This painting depicts a scene from the Old Testament. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon, is serving wine in sacred gold and silver vessels looted by his father from the Temple of Jerusalem. The divine hand writes on the wall and Belshazzar and his guests turn to look. Only Daniel is able to decipher the inscription which foretells the King's death that night and the subsequent division of his kingdom. The picture is a tour de force not only of gesture and expression but also of painterly skill, evident in the bold foreshortening of the woman at the right, the gleaming gold vessels, and the dazzling virtuosity of Belshazzar's turban and brocaded cloak.

Provenance

The Earl of Derby.

Venue details

National Gallery Trafalgar Square, LONDON London WC2N 5DN 020 7747 2885 www.nationalgallery.org.uk

Entry details

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Closed 24 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan

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