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Topic: The Rose of Sharon : Christ and His son in the Fine Arts

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The Rose of Sharon : Christ and His son in the Fine Arts


The Jewish Bride is a painting by Rembrandt, executed around 1666.

The painting gained its current name in the early 19th century, when an Amsterdam art collector identified the subject as that of a Jewish father bestowing a necklace upon his daughter on her wedding day. This interpretation is no longer accepted, and the identity of the couple is uncertain. The ambiguity is heightened by the lack of anecdotal context, leaving only the central universal theme, that of a couple joined in love. Speculative suggestions as to the couple's identity have ranged from Rembrandt's son Titus and his bride, or Amsterdam poet Miguel de Barrios and his wife. Also considered are several couples from the Old Testament, including Abraham and Sarah, or Boaz and Ruth. The likeliest identification, however, is that of Isaac and Rebekah, as described in Genesis 26:8 and is supported by a drawing by the artist of the same theme. The completed composition is one of the greatest expressions of the tender fusion of spiritual and physical love in the history of painting.

Well, probably no one will believe me but here is the deal. First off, there isn't too much doubt in my mind that, of his last paintings, the one on Pilate is not a Rembrandt. I ain't no expert but it sure don't look like his work.

Now, there is one that he did around 1665 that has been mistakenly labeled a Jewish Wedding simply cause no one could figure out who the young couple was and some say it was a portrait of a family for a wedding but no one really knows.

Another possibility was that it was Isaac and Rebbecca caught sporting by Pharaoh and they support this by saying that you can see the garden they were sporting around in the shadows but the problem with this is, obviously, the reason that Pharaoh bagged Isaac and Rebbecca is because they were sporting around in the day time - duh - whereas this picture was painted at night time. Further, there is nothing in the record of a garden at all and this is just an assumption.

One of the greatest expressions of the tender fusion of spiritual and physical love in the history of painting.

Christoper White, Rembrandt, London, 1984

This piece has been described in such lofty praise - Van Gogh himself who was no artistic slouch wanted to spend two weeks staring at it - that there is no doubt at all in my mind that this can only be a portrait of the Song of Songs which alone, of all the Literature on the planet, stirs the same emotions from people as this Masterpiece has obviously done and thus I will now set out the points of congruity between the Song and the Painting.

The one - and only - point seemingly against this connection is that the woman is presented as being black and I would guess that the artist did not want to detract from the emotional aspect of the painting by trying to buck the current sociological environment and thus presented her with European features and, as if to compensate for this Artist License, he then dresses her in bright read cause she also is called the Rose of Sharon complete with borders of Gold and studs of Silver and Chains of Gold around her neck so that the viewer could not miss the connection and this is very possibly the title envisioned by the Master himself, I would hazard a guess.

The most obvious connection to the Song is the verse that says, His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me and the reader can see for themselves that, in fact, this is exactly how the couple appears with his hand over another prominent theme of the book and that is the comforting breasts of the Rose of Sharon because, obviously, she had ravished his heart.

Many suppose that this scene occurs in or near a garden based on a previous sketch by the artist and, of course, in the book, at the climax of the first or the second act the woman entreats her lover to come into her garden and her lover responds with, I have come into my garden my sister, my spouse and this after he had spent sometime outdoors in the night for his hair is filled with dew and my locks with the drops of the night and the viewer will note the man, for all his finery, lacks a hat which is a very careful and casual way for the artist to engraft that situation into his work.

Not only are they located near a garden but as one person mentioned, they are actually indoors somewhere and this is also the case where her love brought her into his Banqueting House and then she, in turn, brought him into her mother's house and the room where she herself was conceived - emphasizing the future result of the love shared between the two.

Along with that is the door or lattice that looks outside to the garden mentioned in the fifth chapter which could easily double as the secret place of the stairs in the second chapter.

Another one says you can see a potted plant behind the woman and I might add the plant is in full bloom presenting the grand lovers theme of springtime, as occurs in the Song of Songs after the snows were gone and the sound of the Turtle Doves filled the air.

Speaking of which, one of the lovers is given lips of scarlet and the other doves eyes and lips dripping with honey and the reader can decide for themselves if the couple fits that description.

However, for the purposes of this critique, the most important aspect of the Master's work, which was dolefully noted by another critic who attributed it to lack of zeal and energy due to the artists approaching exit from the world stage in his twilight years, is that his last four pictures all contain an abnormal amount of shadows which also feature prominently in the book till the day break and the shadows flee away and the fact that he uses this motif in his last four works ties all of them together which we will see as we proceed.

Now, with that critical foundation firmly in place I honestly can't believe that a Masterpiece of this Worth, which has been in the world's limelight for three centuries, has never been connected to the Song of all Songs except by little old me - you all need to go back to Art Class, hey. I would think that it is not too much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that a Painter on the caliber of Rembrandt, who had an affinity for the Scriptures, would certainly at some point in time try to capture the mood, emotions and feelings portrayed in that most wonderful of books - only a matter of time, hey.

That being the case then some would say that the Song of Songs is referring to Y'shua and his bride.

Gary Schwartz, in his work, The Rembrandt Book says that, one of the things that sets this work apart from the rest of Rembrandt's Masterpieces is the fact that the light seems to come from within the couple - you know, like one of them is Divine.

So, here then we have the starting point for Rembrandt's portrayal of Y'shua as Sire for the woman holds her hand over her womb as if the seed had already been planted which, of course, in a sense it was, at the Crucifixion.

Then Rembrandt followed this one up with the exact same couple - in my opinion - now with kids completing the unspoken Message of the Song of Songs - that the Messiah was going to have kids as Isaiah 53:10 and Proverbs 30 confirms - where Y'shua is, obviously, the one who ascended up to heaven and caught the wind in his fists so Agur wanted to know what his son's name was going to be.

Then, Rembrandt followed that up with the return of the Prodigal.

All three of these taken together would be a rough outline of what one of his son's would have gone through if he was sired from the Shroud and finally realizing that Y'shua was actually his sire - in fact, his very words to me on that day - May 11, 2005 - was, Welcome home, David.

Then, Rembrandt signed off with a painting of one of his - for some strange and unknown reason - favorite stories.

Simeon in the Temple having just seen the Christ Child.

In other words, Rembrandt saw me checking out his (still famous after three hundred years) Paintings and realized that I was Y'shua's son sired from the Shroud of Turin.

He was actually a pretty handsome young man.

Get the picture...


Classical Interpretation of the Song of Songs

The Song of Songs, also known as the Song of Solomon and the Canticle of Canticles, has long puzzled readers because its themes seem to have nothing to do with the religious concerns of the rest of the Bible. How it came to be classed among the sacred works called "The Writings" in the Hebrew Bible is unknown. The earliest rabbis whose opinions we have are certain that it cannot possibly mean what is says literally. If it is among the sacred books, it must have a sacred meaning. Some rabbis even argued that as the most mysterious of books, it must have the most profoundly spiritual of meanings. The consensus of first-century Jewish scholars was that the poem was an allegory of God's love for his people, Israel.

Early Christian scholars followed the rabbinical lead by agreeing that these verses could not possibly depict worldly love. Since they routinely interpreted almost all of the Hebrew Bible (which they called "The Old Testament") in allegorical terms, this was only natural. Some thought that the Song of Songs voiced Christ's love for his Church; but the eventual Christian consensus was that they concerned God's love for the Virgin Mary.

Medieval exegetes went to extraordinary lengths to explain away the obvious sensuality of these verses.

For centuries Christians and most Jews (Moses Maimonides' influence is important here) had a strongly ascetic bias. The concept of sensuous Christian marriage is only decades old, not traditional at all, as is the modern Jewish attitude toward sexuality. Of course, it is conceivable that at the time of their writing, these verses reflected attitudes more like modern ones that like those prevailing in the intervening centuries: Jacob was certainly passionate about Rachel. But it is still hard to see in them an endorsement of marriage.

Paul Brians Department of English Washington State University


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