Rebekah and Eliezer at the Well

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).

Key facts

Artist dates
1621 - 1674
Full title
Rebekah and Eliezer at the Well
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
76.5 x 108 cm
Inscription summary
Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit
Presented by Herman Shickman, in gratitude for the hospitality shown to his mother, a refugee from Germany, by the British people during the Second World War, 1991
Inventory number
Location in Gallery