Constantijn Daniel van Renesse, the son of a clergyman, studied at the University of Leiden from 1638-1642. In 1649 he took drawing lessons from Rembrandt and practiced briefly as an artist before taking up a civic post. The influence of Rembrandt can be seen in Renesse’s style with its dark cast and painterly handling. The story of Gideon and the Angel begins with the impoverishment of the Israelites by the Midianites. Upon their appeal to the Lord, God sent Gideon to free the Israelites, but Gideon asked for a sign that he would be able to take on this great task. An angel appeared to Gideon and told him to lay unleavened cakes of ephah of flower, flesh and broth on a rock. When this was done, the angel touched his staff to the flesh and unleavened cakes and a fire appeared and devoured them. Dramatic scenes such as this from the Old Testament of the Bible were popular among Rembrandt and his followers. This painting demonstrates Renesse’s understanding of the use of light to heighten the emotional impact of a scene.