Rembrandt van Rijn
God Making His Covenant with Abraham, ca. 1656–58
Pen and ink on paper
7 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches (19.7 x 26.6 cm)
Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Photo Herbert Boswank
Rembrandt captures one of God’s appearances to Abraham with a mass of energetic marks. Between and around these thick, inky lines, the untouched paper gleams, creating the effect of intense light, amid which the Lord, carried by two cherubim, descends to earth in a swirl of fabric and clouds. In response, an overcome Abraham has dropped his walking stick and fallen to the ground, physically unable to take in the splendor before him.