Valaam’s donkey - a painting by Rembrandt van Rijn, painted in 1626. This canvas is 65x47 cm in size and is located in the Cognac-Gé Paris Museum. It depicts the biblical prophet Balaam and his talking donkey.
The painting was painted during the Leiden period of Rembrandt's work. In 1625, he opened his first workshop there and began to paint on his own. However, it is noticeable that the Valaam donkey was written under the influence of his teacher Peter Lastman, a well-known Dutch artist who lived in Rome for a long time and worked with geniuses such as Caravaggio and Elsheimer.
Colorful, almost flashy colors at the bottom of the picture, a light background and uniform illumination of fixed figures are characteristic of almost all of Rembrandt's early works, including Stoning of St. Stephen (the Lyon Museum of Fine Arts) and the Expulsion of Traders from the Temple (Moscow Pushkin Museum). In 1641, Rembrandt successfully agreed to sell the painting with a Parisian merchant Alfons Lopez, who, as a representative of the French crown and a protege of Cardinal Richelieu, was a great art lover engaged in the purchase of military equipment in Amsterdam.
The biblical story of Balaam and the donkey was one of the most popular in the visual arts of that period. Rembrandt's picture was undoubtedly a kind of imitation of his teacher Peter Lastman, who back in 1622 painted on this subject. However, already in the fourth century, this biblical motif appeared on the walls of the catacombs of Via Latina in Rome. Among Rembrandt's contemporaries who portrayed this plot, it is worth noting Dominicus Steinhart and, of course, Gustave Dore.
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