rembrandt’s gaze

Self-Portrait_MET_DP152808I’ve visited, off and on over the past 35 years, this self portrait Rembrandt painted as an older man. It hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York.

He has always stared just past my left ear, as if he has something on his mind, sometimes concerned about me, sometimes engrossed in his own thoughts.At times he has seemed wistful, other times melancholic. When I was young, I imagined more than a few times that he was perturbed with me for not putting enough time into the painting studio. His younger portraits were more playful, confident, self-possessed, proud. This one looks resigned to the current situation…whatever it may be.

On my most recent visit, it seemed we both were so preoccupied that we left without speaking or understanding the other’s thoughts. I missed his advice, his urging, his unspoken confidences.

I’ll be back to check in on you soon, my old friend. Until then, happy 407th Birthday.

You can visit him at the museum or here online.

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