Rembrandt van Rijn, Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, 1630. Oil on canvas, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–69) was the most important painter of the Dutch golden age and arguably one of the most influential painters in the history of European art, though he accumulated huge debts at the end of his life and died penniless, buried in an unmarked grave in Amsterdam. His parents, both devout Christians, influenced his ability to portray biblical scenes. As a painter, he excelled at figurative composition, using his keen skill in portraying emotion. This work, of the prophet Jeremiah, is a masterpiece of human emotional drama. Jeremiah is cast in detail and light, whereas the destruction of Jerusalem, on the left, is imprecise and dim.