Rembrandt, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633

The bible tells of miracles Jesus performed, one of which is depicted here: calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee. One evening a sleeping Jesus and his 12 disciples were crossing the sea when a storm suddenly approached and nearly swamped their boat. Frightened, the disciples woke Jesus. Mark 4:39-41 reads: He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

In Rembrandt’s portrayal we see the frightened disciples (one vomits overboard), while Jesus sits calmly on the right. Rembrandt has included a self-portrait as a disciple; he’s dressed in blue and looks right at us viewers.

This painting was stolen in the famous 1990 heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and it has never been recovered. Various gangsters in the Boston area have been implicated but no arrests have ever been made.

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