The Suspense Between Seeing and Believing

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

The Frick exhibits rarely seen Rembrandt, "Abraham Entertaining the Angels"

"Abraham entertaining the Angels," 1646, by Rembrandt (1606–1669). Oil on panel, 6 3/8 inches by 8 3/8 inches, private collection. (Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

NEW YORK—We know Rembrandt for his colossal masterpieces, for his captivating self-portraits, and for the vitality in every one of his works, big or small. What seems to have deeply fascinated him throughout his life is conveyed quite powerfully, even in one of his very small paintings, “Abraham Entertaining the Angels” (1646).

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–69) once said that his aim was to observe “the most natural motions.” It is the only documented comment that we have of the Dutch old master describing his art making, but it is enough to confirm what we can sense and perceive in his paintings.