Christ healing the sick (“The hundred florin print”),
Etching by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (1606-1669),
Executed between 1647-49,
Etching, drypoint, burlin on paper
© Uffizi Museum, Firenze
All those who touched him were cured
Having made the crossing, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up. No sooner had they stepped out of the boat than people recognised him, and started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, to village, or town, or farm, they laid down the sick in the open spaces, begging him to let them touch even the fringe of his cloak. And all those who touched him were cured.
Reflection on the Drypoint Etching
Our Gospel reading today tells us about the extent to which Jesus drew people to himself, especially those who were sick and broken. We are told that ‘people started hurrying all through the countryside and brought the sick on stretchers to wherever they heard Jesus was’. We often reach out to Jesus with greatest energy and fervour in those times when we are in need. When we want something, that is often the time we pray the hardest.
And that is fine… It is often the cracks of our lives that allow the light of Jesus to shine through to us. It can sometimes be through our experience of the cross and our own sufferings that we grow the most in our relationship with Christ. It is often in the darker times of our lives that we are more aware of the light.
Our etching by Rembrandt blends various episodes of the Gospels. The main depiction is the theme of our Gospel reading today, Christ healing the sick (who are on his left). They are all flocking towards him to be saved. With his right hand he is welcoming the children and blessing them. A camel is seen in the background (“it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”, Mt 19:23). On the left we have a group of sceptical Pharisees (“Then some Pharisees came to him to test him.”, Matthew 19:3). But it is the figure of Christ bursting with light that is centre stage, with the woman below him touching the fringe of his cloak…. Achieving this print was a technical tour de force, and it became a critical work in the middle of Rembrandt's career. The large engraving is commonly known as “The thousand florin print”, a reference to its high sale price at the time it was issued. It is Christ's light which stands out against the dark background. This light is illuminating everyone around him.
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Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Hermoso grabado, de un gran pintor. Hermosa representación, Cristo es la única luz que puede guiarnos. Muy bello proyecto el de este sitio, me encanta ❤❤❤🤗
The the throng seeking a cure and possibly with no other thought than ‘He’s done it before – He will do it again’ We do well to remember that.
He has healed me in one respect, just this week. Thanks be to God.
Rembrandt’s etchings are absolutely stunning and hundreds exist. And paintings apart, what a master! We shall be going to the Rijksmuseum in a couple of weeks to see the Vermeer exhibition, but you can be sure I shall say hello to Rembrandt while we’re there…
Yes in our darkest and not so dark moments we seek the light to’ lighten our darkness’,
So much detail in this work….
I should think that Rembrandt needed the hundred florin print as he found it quite difficult to make a living I seem to remember. Religious images lost their popularity in Protestant Holland. I would have paid top money for a portrait by him at which he was completely brilliant! I remember a guide at the National Gallery saying that he always got a friend to paint hands in the portraits as he could never master them!
Do you believe that? I’m not so sure – but then he can do no wrong with me ☺️
Lucky you with the Vermeer. I didn’t know it was on…
Most of his works (though not that many in total) will be on show. He’s another one who died penniless and in obscurity – I believe the baker was offered one of his paintings in lieu of the outstanding bill!
Such a lovely message, especially about how we seek out the light in the darkest moments of our lives. This has been so true for me. And the awe-inspiring Rembrandt- thank you!