Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rembrandt: Three Faces of the Master

I was rather critical of the Cincinnati Art Museum
in my last post,
but stand in awe of
this current exhibition
that I was lucky enough
to have coincide with last weekend's visit.

It's really just three paintings,
Rembrandt self portraits
done at the beginning, middle, and end of his career.

But what an incredible show!
First --- because all three are great paintings,
a few notches above most all other portraits in the museum

but also because,
placed side-by-side
they tell such a story
of a creative man's life

(and it had to take some finagling
to get all three together,
one from nearby Indianapolis,
but the others from Europe,
from Paris and Madrid)

What a fine young man
young Rembrandt was!

Full of vigor, ambition,
passion and curiosity,
just emerging from the shadows.

and how he has mellowed
into responsibility,
and a little more
sensuality and vulnerability.

Could you ask this man
for the loan of a few quid
until the next pay day ?

I think so.

Now, finally,
as an old man,
who has seen some sorrow,
just seems to be hanging on

and maybe is a little more
the meaning of it all.

And don't bother him about a loan,
his pockets are bare.

(and, of course, what frightens me
is that this "old" Rembrandt was only 54,
5 years younger than I am today)

A great exhibit!

Three paintings is all that a good exhibit needs,
and I wish that my museum
would have some of them.

There's hardly enough time,
even in a month of Sundays,
to become acquainted with all the
paintings in a giant blockbuster exhibit.

(note #1: no credit is given on the
museum's website to the curator who came up
with this idea -- but I salute him or her -- whoever it was
that was visiting Indianapolis one day,
saw their early Rembrandt self-portrait,
and dreamed of giving it better company
than the 4th rate Baroque paintings in the IMA collection)

(note #2: the museum parking lot was
packed the day I visited - the first time
I ever remember that happening.
I wonder whether the organizer of this
exhibit would consider moving to Chicago ??)


Anonymous marlyat2 said...

Oh, that would be a grand exhibit--just the right size. I always feel that I am gobbling the world when I go to the Met or MOMA or some other NYC museum. Two hours for a whole collection of Fra Angelico paintings? What madness. I need a day to sit at the feet of each.

We are lucky to live in age when decline is staved off for a few decades, with luck--though it sweeps by like a dream, all the same.

March 21, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

I wish I could hop on a aeroplane and visit it. Top 2"d" man.

March 22, 2008  

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