Friday, January 20, 2012

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel - Painting by Rembrandt Van Ryn

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel - Painting by Rembrandt Van Ryn

 Painting by Rembrandt Van Ryn
Berlin Gallery
The picture represents Jacob wrestling with his mysterious adversary. We have seen from his history how determined he was to have his own way, and how he wrested worldly prosperity even from misfortunes. Now he is equally determined in this higher and more spiritual conflict. It is a very real struggle, and Jacob has prevailed only by putting forth his utmost energy. It is the moment when the grand angel, pressing one knee into the[6] hollow of Jacob's left thigh and laying his hand on his right side, looks into his face and grants the blessing demanded as a condition for release. Strong and tender is his gaze, and the gift he bestows is a new name, in token of the new character of brotherly love of which this victory is the beginning.

The story of St. Michael and the Dragon, which Raphael has painted, stands for the everlasting conflict between good and evil in the world. There is a like meaning in the story of Jacob's wrestling with the angel. The struggle is in the human heart between selfish impulses and higher ideals. The day when one can hold on to the good angel long enough to win a blessing, is the day which begins a new chapter in a man's life.

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