The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a 1633 oil-on-canvas painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn. It was previously in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston but was stolen in 1990 and remains missing. The painting depicts the biblical story of Jesus calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee, specifically as it is described in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark.[1] It is Rembrandt's only seascape.[2]

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee.jpg
ArtistRembrandt van Rijn
MediumOil on canvas
MovementDutch Golden Age painting
Dimensions160 cm × 128 cm (62.99 in × 50.39 in)
LocationWhereabouts unknown since 1990


The painting, in vertical format, shows a close-up view of Christ's disciples struggling frantically against the heavy storm to regain control of their fishing boat. A huge wave beats the bow and rips the sail. One of the disciples is seen vomiting over the side. Another one, looking directly out at the viewer, is a self-portrait of the artist. Only Christ, depicted on the right, remains calm.[1]

The close-up treatment of the subject and the overall composition go back to the print made by Adriaen Collaert after a design by the Flemish artist Maerten de Vos. That print depicting The storm on the sea of Galilei was plate 8 in the 12-part Vita, passio et Resvrrectio Iesv Christ which was published by Jan and Raphael Sadeler in Antwerp in 1583. Rembrandt's painting follows the portrait format in his composition and also depicts the boat in a forward tilting position. Like in the print, most of the space of the work is taken up by the main motif, which is the disciples on the boat struggling against the elements.[3]


The storm on the sea of Galilei, print by Adriaen Collaert after design by Maerten de Vos

On the morning of March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers broke into the museum and stole The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and 12 other works[2] in what is considered to be the biggest art theft in U.S. history. The heist remains unsolved.[2][4]

On March 18, 2013, the FBI announced that they knew who was responsible for the crime.[5] [6]

In popular cultureEdit

  • The painting is used on the cover of the 1996 book Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, by Peter L. Bernstein.
  • The painting is used as the cover art for The Struggle (2012), the third studio album by Tenth Avenue North.
  • In The Blacklist 2013 episode "Gina Zanetakos (No. 152)" (season 1, episode 6), Raymond Reddington has possession of The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and is arranging its sale to a buyer for the buyer's wedding. A forgery is also seen in the 2017 episode "Greyson Blaise (No. 37)" (season 5, episode 2).
  • The painting and its theft are referred to in the 2013 film Trance.
  • The painting turns up in the fictional town of Lost in Sarah Beth Durst's 2014 novel The Lost.
  • In The Venture Bros., villain Phantom Limb is selling the painting to a mafioso who complains that he wanted the Mona Lisa. Limb explains the Rembrandt is not only a better painting but cheaper for the footage, as it is just over double the size.
  • In season 1 (2017), episode 2 of the television series Iron Fist, the painting hangs in the penthouse of the supposedly dead Harold Meachum.
  • In Sneaky Pete Season 3 (2019), the painting is featured in multiple episodes.
  • In Animal Kingdom Season 3 (2019) episode 12, the painting is referred to by the character Frankie as having been in the possession of her father and implies he stole the painting in 1990.
  • The robbery is discussed in the 2021 Netflix show This is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist.
  • In Leverage: Redemption Season 1 (2021) episode 1, the painting is a subject of the crew's heist.
  • The painting can be seen in the video game Bioshock: Infinite.
  • In season 2 (2021), episode 4 of the TV series Outer Banks, the painting is seen in the background of the Limbrey house.
  • The painting is used on the cover of the 2012 book The Wisdom of the Christian Faith [7] (with Michael McFall), by Paul Moser.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee 1633". Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. May 21, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Robert M. Poole (July 2005). "Ripped from the Walls (and the Headlines)". Smithsonian. Archived from the original on 2013-06-16.
  3. ^ G. Unverfehrt, Christus und die Jünger im Seesturm at Sammlungen der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (in German)
  4. ^ Guy Darst; Ulrich Boser (February 20, 2009). "Vanishing Point: As the World's Biggest Unsolved Art Theft Fades From View, a Fresh Look". The Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Matt Pearce (March 18, 2013). "FBI says it knows who pulled off unsolved 1990 Boston art heist". Los Angeles Times.
  6. ^ "The Gardner Museum Theft, Reward Offered for Return of Artwork". Federal Bureau of Investigation. March 18, 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Wisdom of the Christian Faith | Theology".

External linksEdit

  Media related to Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee (Rembrandt) at Wikimedia Commons