|Title||A Rabbi or King Uzziah Stricken with Leprosy|
|Alternative Title||A Jew Rabbi; King Uzziah; Le Docteur de la loi; Dan|
|Collection||Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery|
|Artist||After Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch painter, draftsman and printmaker, 1606-1669)|
|Date Earliest||possibly 1764|
|Date Latest||possibly about 1785|
|Description||This small painting is a copy of a larger work by Rembrandt. It was made famous in Britain by the engravings of William Pether, first published in 1764. This interpretation of the painting omits the background details present in Rembrandt's work, which includes an altar and a column encircled by a gold serpent. While some have identified the sitter simply as a Rabbi, others have linked him to King Uzziah who was struck down with leprosy after donning the robes of a priest. Reference to the Old Testament character Dan has also been suggested, as his symbol was a snake.|
|Current Accession Number||Art01984|
|Measurements||24 x 19 cm (estimate)|
|Material||oil on metal (copper)|
|Acquisition Details||Given by Mrs G. E. L. Sweet (in memory of her great uncle Edwin Lea).|
|Provenance||Acquired by Edwin Lea; by descent to Mrs G. E. L. Sweet.|
Rembrandt's original is in the Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth House.
Accession catalogue records:
... Titled verso in an 18th/19th century hand LE DOCTEUR DE LA LOI. A Copy of the larger version, 1050 x 790mm, at Chatsworth House. In that version the sitter's cheek is deformed and there is a brass serpent in the right background, connecting the picture with a passage in Josephus' 'History of the Jews': In the year 3170 (794 B.C.) King Uzziah donned the garments and adornments of the high priest and wore them to the Temple to sacrifice incense on the golden altar, which only the priests were ordained to do. As he was doing this a great earthquake occurred, rending the roof of the Temple, whereupon a burning hot ray of sunlight struck the king's face, giving him leprosy on the spot.
Pether's mezzotints, published by Boydell in 1764 and 1778, were titled A Jew Rabbi. Reference to King Uzziah depends mainly on the grey patches on the cheeks of Rembrandt's original painting, thought to indicate leprosy. (See Bredius, A., Paintings of Rembrandt, Vienna and London, 1937, no. 179; Schwartz, G., Rembrandt: his life, his paintings, New York, 1985, p. 176, fig. 183). Tümpel argues that these patches may be caused by pigment discoloration, however, and suggests that the subject is Dan, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, whose symbol was a serpent (Tümpel, C., Rembrandt: All Paintings in Colour, Antwerp, 1993, pp.187, 401, cat. no. 77).
|Rights Owner||Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery|
|Author||Dr Anne L. Cowe|