Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Genre: Americana / Electronic
Synths: Cathedral Organ, Full Brass, Unity Synth Lead, Rising Waves, Soft Synth Bells, Monster Bass, Warm Arp Pad, Quantizer Patterns
A painting by Rembrandt seems to go with this piece of music. Storm on the Sea of Galilee is the only seascape painted by Rembrandt. The piece is based on the following verse from the Bible, Mark 4:39-41, when Jesus calms the angry ocean and saves his disciples:
“He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”
The painting depicts the scene, with an angry, swirling sea threatening to overthrow the boat that contains Christ and his disciples. The artwork demonstrates Rembrandt’s mastery of chiaroscuro, with the dark, rolling clouds overshadowing the right side of the piece. The left side is illuminated by a beam of light, showing viewers the disciples frantically trying to control the boat. It is a chaotic scene, enhanced by the contrasting light and shadows. The beam of light signifies hope, and indeed could suggest Jesus’s divine intervention. Another religious allegory can be seen in the mast of the ship, which takes the form of a cross.
Sadly, the artwork remains missing after it was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachuttes, in 1990. On March 18, 1990, thirteen artworks were stolen, with a combined worth of $500 million. The artworks were stolen in the early hours of the morning by two men posing as police officers. When they were let into the museum, they convinced the security guard on duty there was a warrant out for his arrest. When the security guard stepped out from behind the front desk, he was “arrested” by the two men, turned to face the wall and handcuffed. A second security guard arrived at the scene and was promptly handcuffed; at this point, the two men admitted they were not police officers and that their intention was to rob the museum.
Although an alarm went off when the thieves reached the museum’s Dutch Room, they quickly smashed it and continued with the robbery. They attempted to take Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait, but they found it too heavy and so left the painting on the floor. The two thieves cut paintings out of their frames, including Storm on the Sea of Galilee, A Lady and Gentleman in Black, The Concert by Johannes Vermeer, and Landscape with Obelisk by Govaert Flinck.
Despite exhaustive investigations by the FBI, the artworks have never been recovered, despite a $5 million reward for any information that could help the case. The frames still hang empty in the museum.
In 1990 The “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” was plucked from its gilded frame in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stolen in one of the most notorious art thefts in American history. It remains lost to this day, and is one of the most sorely missed examples of world art — its empty frame still hangs in the museum as a sullen reminder of its absence. Painted by a young Rembrandt in 1633, The “Storm on the Sea of Galilee” is an epiphanic seascape, a form unique in the artist’s oeuvre, and is reflective of an exciting period in the artist’s life following his decisive move to Amsterdam to make his name. The painting depicts a particular scene from the New Testament of the Bible wherein Jesus is seen to calm the storm through which his disciples attempt to cross the Sea of Galilee. It is not hard to see Rembrandt’s early popularity among patrons — the scene is resplendent in emotional resonances and a dizzying sense of turbulence. Clustered around the mast and clinging to any available fitting, the disciples are a mosaic of horror and gloom. There are only two faces within the scene that portray a sense of calm — Jesus and a mysterious thirteenth disciple. Their faith tested, the group display panic, doubt, and sorrow, but there is one individual who is aware of the fate of the fragile craft. Deep amid the crowd, staring straight out at the viewer is a self-portrait of Rembrandt himself, who contemplates his own place in this turbulent sea of belief and redemption.