Rembrandt’s First Masterpiece at The Morgan Library & Museum, June 3 – September 18, 2016

Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver is an extraordinary painting that shows Rembrandt at an early age tackling one of the most powerful episodes in the Bible,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “ He, like many of his contemporaries, aspired to be a painter of history and looked for inspiration to well-known religious subjects, as well as mythology and Greek and Roman history. The exhibition presents visitors with the opportunity to discover a rarely seen masterpiece and to explore the creative process by which the young artist gave visual form to the dramatic encounter.”

Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver

1. Rembrandt's First Masterpiece

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver, 1629. Oil on panel. Private collection. © Private Collection, Photography courtesy of The National Gallery, London, 2016.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Judas returning the thirty silver pieces, 1629, oil on oak panel, Private Collection (cropped and color corrected to front cover of Rembrandt's First Masterpiece publication)

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606- 1669), Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (Detail), 1629. Oil on panel. Private collection. © Private Collection, Photography courtesy of The National Gallery, London, 2016.

Judas Returning the 30 Pieces of Silver, recto, 17th century, Private Collection (TMP 2013-077.1 )

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver (recto), ca. 1629, Pen and brown ink and gray wash over black chalk. Private collection.

4. Study of a Seated Figure (recto), ca. 1629

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Study of a Seated Figure (recto), ca. 1629, Red chalk. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Self-Portraits

6. Self-Portrait, ca 1629

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Self- Portrait, ca. 1629, Pen and brown ink and gray wash. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait in a Cap, Open-Mouthed, RvR 442

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Self- Portrait in a Cap, Wide-Eyed and Open- Mouthed, 1630, Etching and drypoint, state II (of II). The Morgan Library & Museum.

Rembrandt and the Gospel

opnamedatum: 2006-04-18

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), The Circumcision, ca. 1625, Etching, state I (of III), Etching. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

9. The Last Supper, after Leonardo da Vinci, ca 1634, Met Museum

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) after Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), The Last Supper, ca. 1634-5, Red chalk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman Collection. © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY.

10. The Last Supper, after Leonardo da Vinci, ca 1634, British Museum

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) after Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), The Last Supper, ca. 1634–35, Red chalk heightened with opaque watercolor. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves: The Three Crosses, RvR 122

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Christ Crucified Between the Two Thieves: “The Three Crosses,” 1653, Drypoint, state I (of V). The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Graham S. Haber.

Rembrandt van Rijn, Three Studies for a Descent from the Cross, EVT 148

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Three Studies for a Descent from the Cross, ca. 1654. Pen and brown ink. Thaw Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Steven H. Crossot.

Rembrandt’s Repertoire

opnamedatum: 2006-04-18

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), St. Jerome Kneeling: Large Plate, ca. 1628, Etching, retouched in pen and dark gray ink, only state. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Rembrandt, Jan Lievens, and Constantijn Huygens

20160602-EW6A8181

Constantijn Huygens, 1596–1687. De vita propria, Manuscript, 33 × 21 cm. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, KA 48, fols. 816v–817r. Photograph by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.

Around 1629, the remarkable Dutch diplomat and art connoisseur Constantijn Huygens saw the Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver in Rembrandt’s workshop. He was so impressed that he wrote a lyrical account of this painting in his autobiography: “The gesture of that one despairing Judas (not to mention all the other impressive figures in the painting), that one maddened Judas, screaming, begging for forgiveness, but devoid of hope, all traces of hope erased from his face; his gaze wild, his hair torn out by the roots, his garments rent, his arms contorted, his hands clenched until they bleed; a blind impulse has brought him to his knees, his whole body writhing in pitiful hideousness. […] Even as I write these words I am struck with amazement. All honor to thee, Rembrandt!”

Images courtesy The Morgan Library & Museum. Installation photo by Corrado Serra for Arts Summary.