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Victors, Jan
Ruth and Naomi
1653

The Old Testament widow Naomi pleads with her Moabite daughters-in-law to return to their families to find new husbands after her sons have died. Orpah, seen at the lower left, obeys Naomi and retreats into the distance, but Ruth refuses to comply. Out of family solidarity, she vows “…whither thou goest, I will go; and whither thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Here, Victors captures the emotional zenith of the story, when Ruth pledges her loyalty to Naomi with as much passion as the older woman conveys in urging her daughter-in-law to pursue a more rewarding life among her own people. Victors may have studied with Rembrandt in Amsterdam in the mid-1630s, and his paintings certainly evince a strong knowledge of the master’s work. While Victors’s manner is more classicizing in its broad illumination and smooth handling, his debt to Rembrandt’s output of the 1630s reveals itself in the emphatic gestures, complex facial expressions, and earthly palette.

 
Victors, Jan
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1619–Indonesia after 1676
Ruth and Naomi
1653
Oil on canvas
108.6 x 137.2 cm
Purchase, Bader Acquisition Fund, 2015
58-002

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