To which biblical story does Rembrandt’s painting Belshazzar’s Feast refer?
The Belshazzar’s Feast is a famous painting by the Dutch painter Rembrandt, painted around 1635. This work refers to a biblical episode from the book of Daniel in the Bible. This biblical account tells the story of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, who celebrates his power and wealth by organizing a great banquet. At this feast, he orders to bring the gold and silver vessels that his father, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from Jerusalem. During the banquet, an invisible hand writes a message in Aramaic on the wall of the banquet hall, which can be translated as “The kingship is transferred”.
Rembrandt’s Belshazzar’s Feast accurately captures the dramatic scene of this moment, showing the king and his guests reacting to the sight of this mysterious writing on the wall. The subdued light, the palpable tension and the bewildered expression of the characters reinforce the drama of the biblical episode. The dark colors and deep shadows add to the tension and mysterious atmosphere of the work.
Rembrandt’s work is considered an important benchmark of Baroque painting, which emphasizes dramatic expression and tension. Belshazzar’s Feast is a striking example of how Rembrandt captured the deep meaning of the biblical story and translated it into a powerful and captivating work of art. This painting continues to be appreciated for its ability to convey an ancient story in a modern and memorable way.