where is rembrandt’s return of the prodigal son?
But he answered his father, “Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.”
—Luke 15:29–30, World English Bible
Art historian H. W. Janson writes that Prodigal Son “may be [Rembrandt’s] most moving painting. It is also his quietest—a moment stretching into eternity. So pervasive is the mood of tender silence that the viewer feels a kinship with this group. That bond is perhaps stronger and more intimate in this picture than in any earlier work of art.” 
In The Return of the Prodigal Son – one of Rembrandt’s last paintings before his death – all dynamism has vanished. Like an Old Testament patriarch, the father lays his hands upon the shoulders of the shaven penitent dressed in threadbare garments. With his eyes half-closed, his gentle gestures command silence. The act of forgiving becomes a blessing of almost sacramental dignity. This is a portrayal of the utmost spiritualization, freed of all anecdotal aspects, in which all movement and action have come to a standstill. The elder brother on the right, with his remorseful appearance, had, according to St. Luke, reproached his father: “See, I have served you for so many years and never disobeyed your commandments . but now he, who wasted your money with harlots, has come and you have sacrificed the fattened calf for him.” Rembrandt, however, removes these words, allowing him to take part in this moving moment in silence. The scene is plunged into a cellar-like darkness out of which the faces of the father and his oldest son shine palely, their red capes giving this darkness its glow. Rembrandt, with all his mastery, did not indulge in artistic sophistication but produced a pittura povera giving predominance to simplicity.
Explanation of Other Paintings by Rembrandt
This painting has various artistic qualities. Being a Baroque artist, Rembrandt placed a lot of importance on the religious theme. Spiritual awareness and a profound psychological insight are evident in this painting and Rembrandt managed to be extremely realistic in these areas via his painting, which is indeed a masterpiece.
Rembrandt decided to paint this scene because it is very moving and important. It is evident that Rembrandt was deeply moved by this parable, because several other sketches and etchings that he made were found depicting aspects of this parable. The central themes of this painting are love and forgiveness, and their respective beauty.
Голландия, около 1668 г.
Когда-то в молодости на одном из своих автопортретов Рембрандт изобразил себя — кутилу и баловня судьбы в расцвете славы и сил, с бокалом в руке и любимой женщиной на коленях. Обращение к сюжету возвращения блудного сына (Лк. 15:11-32) — это своеобразный финал истории. Картина написана мастером за несколько месяцев до смерти. В бледном, исхудавшем, усталом человеке, вернувшемся к отцу, которого он бросил в юности, трудно узнать бесшабашного искателя удовольствий, игрока и мота, выпросившего у отца своё наследство и спустившего его до последней монеты. Куда девались его самоуверенность и богатые одежды? Всё бренное спало с него, как пустая шелуха, прозрение пришло ценой потерь и страданий. Войдя в родной дом, больной и обессиленный, он падает на колени перед отцом, который склоняется к нему, полный любви и милосердия. В дымчатом сумраке пространства лицо старика сияет и на сына нисходит свет его утешения. Красная накидка на плечах старца словно образует шатёр над бедным скитальцем. Рядом молча стоят потрясенные свидетели. В Голландии, протестантской стране, где в храмах не было живописных алтарей и где крупные полотна на религиозные сюжеты создавались не часто, Рембрандт без всякого заказа написал огромную картину, в которой особенности зрелой живописной манеры художника, сами цвет и свет, приобрели одухотворённый характер. Он словно подводит итог своему жизненному и творческому пути, передавая себя на суд высшему милосердию и миру.
In the painting, the son has returned home in a wretched state from travels in which he has wasted his inheritance and fallen into poverty and despair. He kneels before his father in repentance, wishing for forgiveness and a renewed place in the family, having realized that even his father’s servants had a better station in life than he. His father receives him with a tender gesture. His hands seem to suggest mothering and fathering at once; the left appears larger and more masculine, set on the son’s shoulder, while the right is softer and more receptive in gesture. Standing at the right is the prodigal son’s older brother, who crosses his hands in judgment; in the parable he objects to the father’s compassion for the sinful son:
Art historian H. W. Janson writes that Prodigal Son “may be [Rembrandt’s] most moving painting. It is also his quietest—a moment stretching into eternity. So pervasive is the mood of tender silence that the viewer feels a kinship with this group. That bond is perhaps stronger and more intimate in this picture than in any earlier work of art.”