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Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606-Amsterdam 1669)

Christ and St Mary Magdalen at the Tomb Signed and dated 1638

Oil on panel | 61.0 x 50.0 cm (support, canvas/panel/stretcher external) | RCIN 404816

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Mary Magdalen has set out before dawn to anoint Christ’s body; she finds the tomb empty, with angels guarding it. She turns to another figure nearby whom she takes to be a gardener, asking him where he has taken the body. He says her name and she recognises her risen Lord. No artist has ever so powerfully conveyed the bewilderment and pain of this famous episode. All artists use the light of the rising sun as a metaphor for Christ’s resurrection – none as effectively as Rembrandt.

Acquired by George IV in 1819, when Prince Regent