Simeon's Song of Praise is an excellent example of Rembrandt's detailed smallscale history paintings from the 1630s. Despite the greyed and blanched condtion of several of the dark passages in the background, it still reveals his great gift for chiaroscuro (fig. 1).1 To achieve this, Rembrandt had at his disposal a bag of tricks and devices, some new innovations, such as theatrical lighting effects, which he pioneered through his muted palette and textural effects. The carefully constructed composition, on the other hand relies more heavily on traditional devices, such as linear and atmospheric perspective, and his use of repoussoirs.

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