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Dijck, Abraham van
The Widow of Zarephath and Her Son The Widow of Zarephath and Her Son
Around 1655 Around 1655

The subject of this painting comes from 1 Kings 17: 7-16, which recounts Elijah’s encounter with a widow from Zarephath during a drought. He asks her to bake bread for him, and, in spite of her hesitation because of a dearth of resources, she is blessed with ample supplies from her cruse and barrel that last throughout the drought. Thus this story is one of charity and faith. A student of Rembrandt van Rijn around 1650, Abraham van Dijck here adapts his master’s practice of Herauslösung, or the excerpting of a figure or figures from a larger narrative scene. In his omission of Elijah, the artist transforms this Old Testament tale into one of maternal care and thanksgiving, as exemplified in the watchful eye of the mother and the folded hands. The beautiful still life on the table echoes the simple repasts of Nicolaes Maes, an artist that Van Dijck would have met in Rembrandt’s studio. Van Dijck captures the best of Rembrandt and his circle around 1650: emotional depth, broad painterly handling, and simple piety.

 
Dijck, Abraham van
Dordrecht, Netherlands 1635-Dordrecht, Netherlands 1680 Dordrecht, Netherlands 1635-Dordrecht, Netherlands 1680
The Widow of Zarephath and Her Son The Widow of Zarephath and Her Son
Around 1655 Around 1655
Oil on canvas Oil on canvas
115.6 x 95.9 cm
Gift of Isabel and Alfred Bader, 2017 Gift of Isabel and Alfred Bader, 2017
60-001

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