Return of the Prodigal Son c1669 | Oil Painting Reproduction
58 cm
Return of the Prodigal Son c1669
Artist: Rembrandt Van Rijn
Size: 75 x 58 cm (29.5 x 22.8")
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Price: $339.00
Selected size: 75 x 58 cm (29.5 x 22.8")

Return of the Prodigal Son Rembrandt's painting translates as “De Terugkeer van de Verloren Zoon.”

The Return of the Prodigal Son is one of the most famous Rembrandt oil paintings from the Baroque period.

Indeed, the famed art historian Kenneth Clark described the work as “the greatest picture ever painted”. It’s a painting full of beauty, artistic skill, and religious significance with emotional intensity.

Rembrandt's famous religious painting depicts a key biblical parable and represents the moment an errant son returns to his father. The painting currently hangs in the collection of the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, Russia.

When did Rembrandt paint The Return of the Prodigal Son?

The exact dating of The Prodigal Son painting remains unknown. Like many Rembrandt van Rijn paintings, it is undated.

Despite this, art historians cite the work as one of Rembrandt’s later compositions, completed towards the end of his career. So while he probably worked on the painting during his final two years of life, dating could range anywhere from 1661 to 1669.

What is the message of Rembrandt's painting?

Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son painting represents the moment a son returns home to his father. 

The son left home, abandoning a loving family who feared his death after months of uncertainty. Instead, the young man squandered his inheritance while traveling, returning home in despair and poverty.

As a result, the son kneels before his father, begging for forgiveness. Then, knowing he doesn’t deserve forgiveness after his wanton behavior, the son begs for restitution in the position of a servant in his father’s household.

However, the father receives his son tenderly in a moment of extreme grace and forgiveness. He warmly welcomes him back into the household. It is a parable demonstrating the grace of God and the forgiveness all Christians should demonstrate.

Critics particularly note the portrayal of the father’s hands in Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son. His physique metaphorically represents masculine and feminine parental qualities. While his left hand appears slightly larger (set firmly on the son’s shoulder), the right hand is gentler and makes a welcoming gesture.

Who are the people in the Prodigal Son painting?

The figure on the left of the painting (wearing the red cloak) is the father. Kneeling at his feet, the son presses his head into the older man’s chest.

To the right of the scene is the older brother. In judgment, the brother crosses his hands, reflecting his anger at the father’s easy forgiveness.

As told in Luke 15, the older brother chastises his father. He bemoans having served him without disobeying a single command, with no celebration or reward. Moreover, the older brother objects to the father’s contrasting celebration of the younger sibling, who returned after devouring his fortune with prostitutes and vagabonds. 

Despite this, the father replies it’s appropriate to celebrate because the younger brother “was dead and is now alive again… he was lost and is now found.”

While the son, father, and brother are easily identifiable, scholars are less sure about the identities of the other figures in Rembrandt’s artwork. The woman at the top left (barely visible amidst the darkness) is likely the mother.

The seated man (dressed in rich garb) could be an advisor to the father’s estate. The dress also suggests a powerful position, such as a tax collector, adding additional significance to the theme of wealth in the painting.

Why did van Rijn paint the Parable of the Lost Son ?

Incredibly moved by the Parable of the Lost Son, Rembrandt had a deep personal connection with this biblical narrative. He consequently painted the work for his artistic, theological, and academic contemplation.

Indeed, Rembrandt made many drawings, etchings, and sketches of the scene throughout his career. Unfortunately, these versions often contain various figures, some of whom do not directly relate to the biblical parable.

With the painting, Rembrandt interprets the Christian theme of mercy uniquely. It transgresses traditional religious art, going above and beyond familiar allegorical paintings of the Dutch Golden Age.

Rembrandt’s expert painterly realism brings life to the painting with his unique psychological awareness and spiritual insight. As a moment of tender familial silence and forgiveness, the painting draws viewers into its contemplative atmosphere, retaining its expressive power to this day.

Buying art online has never been easier. Return of the Prodigal Son is just one of the many famous Baroque oil painting reproductions offered for sale in many size options.

We offer a 100% money back guarantee or replacement service. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your painting please contact us within 7 days of receipt, advising the reason you are unhappy and we will provide you with all the information you need for its return or replacement.

We ship free to anywhere in the world via FedEx or DHL expedited service with online tracking.

Your painting will be shipped rolled in strong plastic tubing, ready for stretching and/or framing locally. This is the conventional method of transporting hand-painted oil on canvas. Learn more about how your painting is shipped.

We are able to offer a framing service intercontinental U.S. Please contact us if you would like a quotation. Alternatively, should you prefer, we can recommend a framer in your area.

Notes About Your Painting

Please note that replica oil paintings are finished with an additional 10cm (4") of extra canvas on all sides, allowing ample surplus canvas for stretching and framing.

Why settle for a poster or paper art print when you can own a real oil painting on canvas? This is a hand painted oil painting reproduction of a masterpiece, by a talented artist no electronic transfer methods are employed.

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