Belshazzar’s Feast

“Belshazzar’s Feast” is representative of Rembrandt’s goals to be known as a painter of major Baroque history paintings. Here, Rembrandt depicts a scene from the Old Testament Book of Daniel (5: 1-6, 25-8) in which the King of Babylon, Belshazzar, throws a banquet at which he provided wine to his noble guests in the sacred vessels that had been stolen from the Temple in Jerusalem. Here, a Hebrew phrase appears on the wall that can be translated as ‘God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; your kingdom is given to the Medes and Persians.’ This prophecy was ultimately true, for by the end of the evening Belshazzar was dead.

Creator: Rembrandt

Date: about 1636-8

Original Medium: Oil on canvas

Original Size: 167.6 x 209.2 cm

Location: National Gallery London