Three visits to this superlative exhibition are just not enough. However, despite joustling, such is Rembrandt’s power to lift you away from the crowds who, like me, fawn in miraculous wonder. This is a lifetime opportunity. GO.
You’ve probably seen the outstanding reviews, so what can I say? Simply this: NEVER let anyone tell you that artists have a ‘sell by’ date. Even in our supposedly more enlightened age, our cult of youth too readily equates ‘maturity’ with ‘past it’. This magnificent show, as well as the Late Turner’s at the Tate are testimony enough to stop this nonsense.
One painting says it all. Simeon with the Infant Christ in the Temple 1669. If you could see only one painting in this entire collection this would have to be it. The astonishing immediacy of the paint creates a masterpiece of depth and humanity. Looking at it is like a punch: The intensity of frail Simeon, his stiff, awed support of the bundled, tranquil infant, his knowledge that now, having seen the Christ child, he is reconciled and can, as prophesised ’depart in peace’. It is overwhelming. Is this really another self-portrait of sorts – a disguised Rembrandt facing starkly his own imminent death? Perhaps so. This is an astounding work, so intimate and revealing that I fear I shouldn’t be looking, but look I have to. The work is placed sensitvely in its’ own, independent space right at the end of the exhibition. Incredible. What a way to end this journey!