2000 – Rembrandt on Athos

This year I will visit Athos in September for the 12th time. Xenofontos, Grigoriou and Pavlou are monasteries that I visited before, but I never stayed over.  Unfortunately Xerapotamou declined our request for an overnight in their monastery. This will be my next goal for the Athos 2019 pilgrimage!

A couple of years ago I started bringing small gifts to present to the guestmasters of the monasteries where we stayed the night. Bringing a gift is not nessesary, but I think it is nice thing to do, especcialy of you bring something of interest of your own country . So on my pilgrimage to Athos I brought seeds from Holland for the gardener to grow vegatables in his kitchen garden, but also flower seeds and tulips from Amsterdam.

Last year I took some old copies from etches of Rembrandt with religious scenes. Ofcourse they were not as valuable as the original ones, but the copies were more then 100 years old – printed in 1904 – and of good quality. One of them was the so called “hundred guilder” print.  The Hundred Guilder Print is an etching by Rembrandt from ca 1646, depicting multiple events from the Gospel of Matthew 19. The story goes that Rembrandt wanted to buy back a copy of the engraving and had to pay the enormous amount of one hundred guilders

The etch shows Christ (in the middle) healing the sick, on the left in the background are some scribes and Pharisees discussing with each other about the man they are looking at in a somewhat disparaging way, Peter (with beard) tries to stop some women who want their children to be blessed, but Jesus gestures them forward. Next to Peter, with his hand in front of his mouth, is the rich young man who has just been told that a place in heaven is not reserved for him, despite his virtuous lifestyle. He must first give his wealth to the poor. The rich young man mentioned in the chapter is leaving through the gateway on the right.

The librarian of Vatopedi received the gift in gratitude. I hope he will like it, because the art of Rembrandt is so different from the Byzantine art tradition. The librarian gave me permission to have a look in the new library and to make some pictures (NB. the old historical books are placed in a different, second library , under the clocktower).reading room in the library of Vatopedi New and older books on the shelvesCabinets full with books: in the background modern mobile storage cabinetsThe foreign books section: books about Athos in German, English and Russian (and more languages)The Vatopedi library (A) can be reached by taking the stairways to the second floor sea side, near the Katholicon (C) see the red arrow. B is the trapeza. The Vatopedi library on the second floor

Wim Voogd, 21/05

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