The Baptism of the Ethiopian ChamberlainEnlarge image

The Baptism of the Ethiopian Chamberlain, c. 1650-1655

Rembrandt van Rijn
Dutch, 1606 - 1669
pen and brown ink, partially incised, on laid paper
18.2 x 21.1 cm
Purchased 1977
National Gallery of Canada (no. 18909)

The Acts of the Apostles 8:26-39 recounts the story of the conversion by Philip (a later disciple) of the chamberlain of the Candace, or queen, of Ethiopia. (All her chamberlains were eunuchs and therefore excluded by law from the Jewish congregation.) This important early conversion and baptism from the New Testament held great resonance for Protestants. Rarely depicted before the Reformation, it became a favourite theme for artists in the Dutch Republic.


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