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Key facts
Full title Judah and Tamar
Artist Aert de Gelder
Artist dates 1645 - 1727
Date made about 1681
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 80 × 97 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit On loan from the Royal Picture Gallery Maurithuis, The Hague
Inventory number L593
Location Not on display
Image copyright On loan from the Royal Picture Gallery Maurithuis, The Hague, © Mauritshuis
Collection Main Collection
Judah and Tamar
Aert de Gelder

According to the story from the Old Testament (Genesis 38) Judah, having consented to the marriage of his youngest son to his daughter-in-law Tamar, failed to keep his word when the boy came of age. In revenge Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and seduced Judah, after having received his ring, bracelet and staff. She later produced these pledges, thus saving her life, and bore him two sons.

This painting shows the moment when Tamar demands the pledges from Judah. Old Testament stories were popular subjects for paintings in 17th-century Holland and contemporary viewers would have immediately recognised the source for this picture.

Aert de Gelder, a native of Dordrecht, was Rembrandt's last pupil. He worked in his studio in Amsterdam in the 1660s before returning to Dordrecht. De Gelder's style, with its loose and fluid brushstrokes and muted palette, remained remarkably close to Rembrandt's late style, while the general taste at the time favoured a Flemish-influenced more colourful and tightly executed manner of painting.

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