David McFall R.A. (1919 - 1988)


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1986/3 The Prodigal Son

After Rembrandt

Height 11"

Bronze (cast by Fiorini foundry)

Exhibited Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

1987 Catalogue No. 1145

This was modelled very quickly as McFall’s

immediate reaction to news of his new cancer

‘Rembrandt (Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn) was close to his death when he painted his Prodigal Son, seen by many as the last will and testament of a turbulent and troubled life. In his Prodigal Son painting, the essence of love was concentrated in the hands. When the famous author Henri Nouwen saw the Prodigal Son painting in the St Petersburg Hermitage, he was struck by the sight of "a man in a great red cloak tenderly touching the shoulders of a dishevelled boy kneeling before him. I could not take my eyes away. I felt drawn by the intimacy between the two figures, the warm red of the man’s cloak, the golden yellow of the boy’s tunic, and the mysterious light engulfing them both. But, most of all, it was the hands --the old man’s hands--as they touched the boy’s shoulders that reached me in a place where I had never been reached before. ..." Nouwen realized that Rembrandt must have shed many tears and died many deaths before he could have so exquisitely painted the father’s heart for his lost son. Rembrandt had once again painted himself as the Prodigal Son, but this time coming back home to his Father. (The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church)’

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