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A dramatic homecoming is a perfect recipe for poignancy. Rembrandt, the seminal humanist painter of the Dutch Golden Age, seized upon the most moving story of them all; one of the parables of Jesus. The son of a kind father runs away from home and squanders his entire fortune. Returning home a broken wreck, he intends to offer himself as a servant out of the bonds of kinship. Instead, he is warmly welcomed back into the fold by the father. In Rembrandt’s take on the scene, the viewer is shown in the foreground the servants who come running to bring shoes and clothes, while the eldest son, jealous of the treatment of his selfish brother, is visible lingering in the distance. The painter’s remarkable mastery of the play of light and shade, the often-sharp chiaroscuro contrasts, lead the viewer deep into the drama of this deeply personal family reconciliation. Painted sometime between 1661 and 1669, “Return of the Prodigal Son” is often assumed to be Rembrandt’s final painting before his death. This baroque drama of psychological intensity deeply attracted the contemplative artist, and he returned to the theme a number of times during his career. Told by Jesus to his disciples as an articulation of the merits of Christian mercy, Rembrandt’s interpretation is replete with a staggering sense of modernity. The expressionist brushwork, the off-center spacing of the action, and the gloomy light, all unify to place the protagonists at the cusp of an eternity of darkness. It is almost as if the sole gesture in their imagined lives has come to encapsulate their entire beings, and shields them from death and eternal obscurity.