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Gerbrand van den Eeckhout: 'Rebekah and Eliezer at the Well'

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Room A: Paintings after 1600

The subject is from the Old Testament (Genesis 24: 11-17). Abraham's servant, Eliezer, was sent by his master to the city of Nahor in Mesopotamia to find a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. At the well outside the town walls, he met Rebekah who was filling a pitcher with water. He returned to Canaan with Rebekah, who married Isaac and became the mother of Esau and Jacob.

This is an outstanding example of van den Eeckhout's mature style as a history painter, which reflects the powerful influence of Rembrandt. In its figure types and the disposition of light and shade, it recalls Rembrandt's biblical scenes like 'The Visitation' of 1640 (Detroit Institute of Arts), painted when van den Eeckhout was probably still in Rembrandt's studio. A drawing for this painting is in the De Grez collection (Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts).

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