Paul in Prison

Rembrandt van Rijn, Paul in Prison, 1627. Painting - oil on board. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany.

In this early work, Rembrandt has set the scene as if we were actually present in Paul’s cell. The saint is shown sitting on his bed in his prison cell with his belongings arranged at his side. His expression does not indicate a man imprisoned, but a man with work still to do. The gentle light from the window envelopes his head in a halo. The large sword leaning on the bed could be a symbol of his impending martyrdom or perhaps an allusion to the Sword of the Spirit from Eph 6:17. Rembrandt painted Paul repeatedly, perhaps because Paul’s writings were so important for the popular Reformation theology of his time.

This is a painting of Paul in prison made by Rembrandt van Rijn in 1627.

A sixteenth-century movement in Europe that questioned the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.

A person deemed holy by a religious tradition, especially in Roman Catholicism.

Writing, speech, or thought about the nature and behavior of God.

The third division of the Jewish canon, also called by the Hebrew name Ketuvim. The other two divisions are the Torah (Pentateuch) and Nevi'im (Prophets); together the three divisions create the acronym Tanakh, the Jewish term for the Hebrew Bible.

Eph 6:17

17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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