Rembrandt captures the pathos of the initial encounter between an aged, loving father and his wayward son. The painterâ€™s attention to detail creates the mood and emotional tone of the composition. The prodigalâ€™s head is shorn; his clothes are nothing more than rags; and his left shoe has disintegrated, leaving his exposed foot as a metonym for the tender and vulnerable state in which he has returned. In the shadows, servants observe the scene, and in the foreground, the elder brother watches with arms folded in disapproval over the unconditional grace shown to a wastrel. Rembrandt has telescoped the fatherâ€™s separate encounters with his two sons into one event. Like Jesusâ€™ parable, the painting is open-ended: Will the older brother walk away from this intimate scene of reconciliation or will he join in this celebration? What would we do?