Rembrandt’s only seascape is set here, where the main figure once said, “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”

On Thursday, May 23, 2024, “Jeopardy!” presented a challenging Final Jeopardy question in the category of “Artwork.” The clue provided was, “Rembrandt’s only seascape is set here, where the main figure once said, ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’” This clue refers to a specific setting depicted in a rare seascape painted by the renowned Dutch artist, Rembrandt van Rijn.

Rembrandt, primarily known for his portraits and biblical scenes, ventured into the realm of seascapes with only one known painting. The clue hinges on recognizing the biblical quote and connecting it to the depicted scene. The phrase “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” is a direct quote from the New Testament, where Jesus addresses his disciples during a storm on the Sea of Galilee. This storm, famously calming after Jesus’ intervention, is a popular subject in Christian art, symbolizing faith and divine authority.

What is Sea of Galilee?

The correct response to this Final Jeopardy question is: “What is the Sea of Galilee?” This seascape depicts the sudden storm on this specific body of water, where according to biblical texts, Jesus performed one of his miracles. By identifying the Sea of Galilee, contestants link the geographical and spiritual significance of the location with Rembrandt’s artistic interpretation.

Rembrandt’s painting is particularly noted for its dynamic composition and the emotional depth he brings to the biblical story. Each disciple’s reaction to the storm is captured with unique expressions of fear and awe, while Jesus remains a calming presence. The interplay of light and dark enhances the turmoil of the sea against the divine light surrounding Jesus, creating a powerful visual narrative that engages viewers both spiritually and aesthetically.

“The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” holds a significant place in art history not only due to its artistic merits but also because of its dramatic theft in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This unsolved crime led to the painting’s continued absence from public view, which has only intensified interest in its historical and artistic narrative. The painting’s disappearance adds a layer of mystery and intrigue, making it a legendary piece in both the art world and popular culture.

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