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Return of the Prodigal Son

Valentin de Boulogne French

Not on view

Having wasted his inheritance, the prodigal son returns to his forgiving father, who welcomes him with open arms and provides him with fresh clothing. The figure at left is perhaps the prodigal’s older brother, disconcerted by the welcome his wayward brother has received. Valentin treats the biblical parable as a poignantly human story of repentance, forgiveness, and charity, with the viewer imagined less as a passive observer than an engaged witness.

Return of the Prodigal Son, Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591–1632 Rome), Oil on canvas

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