The work is dated at 1669 which is the year of Rembrandt's passing. It is likely to have been his final painting, marking it out as a highly significant addition to the famous master's extensive career. It is a crying shame that this particular item was not well looked after in the early years after the artist's death, causing damage that could never be reversed centuries later.
Christian tales had inspired Rembrandt right throughout his career, just as they had earlier through the various stages of the Renaissance when religious themes dominated the content of sculpture, painting and architecture. Indeed, on just this theme alone the famous master produced two paintings and several other drawings.
Within this painting Simeon believes he is holding the future Messiah. Whilst damaged, there is still enough of the painting left to understand Rembrandt's thinking behind this piece. There is also some documentation from previous centuries that provides additional information from a time when perhaps the painting was in better condition. The baby was brought to the old man to be blessed, perhaps knowing that the elderly man was already in his final days. The story tells of how the Holy Spririt influenced Simeon in making the visit to this temple.
This important painting is owned by the Nationalmuseum, found in Stockholm, Sweden. Their collection includes several other original Rembrandt van Rijn paintings plus also many other great names such as Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and Gauguin. There is also, as you would expect, an excellent collection of the finest native artists to have come from the Swedish region all the way back to the Middle Ages.