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The painting is an image of one of the parables described in the Gospel of Luke. It refers to a wealthy man who decided to devote all his wealth to achieving personal comfort and happiness, rather than good deeds, such as helping others and honest work for the benefit of the human race. The very next night after this decision, God took the life of a man, because he behaved inappropriately.
The meaning of the parable is the need to serve humanity and criticism of a loose and carefree lifestyle.
In the central part of the picture is a rich-looking man in a dark room, examining jewelry in the dim light of a candle. Warm reddish light illuminates the face of the rich man and the interior of the room: so, we can see a lot of books, coins, bags of gold on one table.
Looking at these objects, the beholder gives the impression that this man is paying all his attention to the accumulation of property. At the bottom of the table you can see poorly consecrated coins of gold and silver, popular at one time in Holland. Most of the objects described in the man’s environment are obscured, but this allows the beholder to continue their list, relying on his own imagination. Dressed in luxurious clothes, the main character directs an attentive look at the jewel, staring at it above the candlelight.
It is no coincidence that the main events of the paintings take place in the dark. Thus, the master tries to convey the solitude of the rich man and his obsession with treasures. It seems that day after day he sits locked up in his office and conducts an endless re-calculation of coins, jewelry, gold and silver, which is at his disposal. Rembrandt was able to accurately convey the character and history of the character with only one scene captured on the canvas.
Painting Flemish Proverbs