Andromeda Chained to the Rocks (c. 1630) represents Rembrandt's first full length mythological female nude history painting and is taken from a story in Ovid's Metamorphoses. In the story, Andromeda is about the daughter of an Ethiopian king who, as punishment for her mother's boasting, was chained to a rock to be sacrificed to a sea monster that was tormenting the Ethiopian people.
The corpse in The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632) is that of the criminal Aris Kindt (alias of Adriaan Adriaanszoon), who was convicted for armed robbery and sentenced to death by hanging.
The main subject of The Three Crosses is Jesus Christ on the cross, flanked by the two thieves who were crucified with him. The etching depicts the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, weeping and supported by the Evangelist. Roman soldiers on horseback, along with grieving citizens, surround the crosses. A beam of light, representing God's light from heaven, pierces the darkened sky to envelope the crucified figure of Christ.
Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph shows a scene from the Old Testament book of Genesis in which Joseph brings his two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) to his dying father for a blessing. Rembrandt included the mother of the children, Asenath.
In The Abduction of Ganymede (1635), Rembrandt depicts Zeus as an eagle with out-stretched wings, rising towards the heavens, holding with his beak the clothing, and with his talons the left arm, of the fair curly-haired Ganymede.
During World War II, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg faced the dilemma of what to do in the event of a siege of Leningrad. The museum's treasures, including Descent from the Cross, were evacuated from their displays, packed into crates and moved to the museum's vaults which were reinforced against the impending bombs. After the siege, the Hermitage was repaired and restocked with masterpieces, reopening in 1945.