Simeon holds the infant Jesus in his arms. Etching by Rembrandt, ca. 1639.
- Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, 1606-1669
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About this work
Bible. N.T. Luke 2.25-39. Towards the right Mary is kneeling with Simeon, who holds the baby. In the centre, Anna, the prophetess mentioned in Luke 2.36-38, stands in the shaft of light emanating from the top-right; the dove of the Holy Spirit is caught in the light, beating its wings above Anna's head. A dog sits on the ground towards the left; behind the Temple is illuminated, filled with people
In Luke 2.25-35, Simeon is described as an old, devout man "waiting for the consolation of Israel" (in later iconographic tradition he is identified with the high priest of the Temple) who is told by the Holy Spirit that he will see the saviour before he dies. In this scene he looks upon the infant herald of Christianity and utters 'Nunc dimittis'; now he can die. Death and birth and the relations of Christianity to Judaism resonate in this scene
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