Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rembrandt: His Later Period

Rembrandt: From the National Gallery, London and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The title of the In the Gallery Series says it all. Rembrandt, His Later Period, to be broadcast again, March 1st. The evening started perfectly with an LRT ride up to Crowfoot. The sun was just setting – at that point where the sky was crimson. The mountains were in silhouette. And I was looking west getting a breath-taking view.

 My heart sank to be at the theatre foyer and not be able to see Rembrandt advertised on the digital marque about the ticket seller’s head. “I guess I have come to the wrong theatre. I wanted to see Rembrandt.” She swung her head around and pointed to a line so tiny that I couldn’t even see it, so miniscule compared to the advertising for the other shows.

I like to count how many people are in the theatre. Tonight, the theatre was ¾ full. When the show started a hush fell on this group that lasted the whole evening. I don’t think I have heard that stillness before.

Here are my highlights, … for you can read the more learned reviews from the critics so there is not much use in my repeating what they say.

1. At one point, to carry the story line, there was animation. ie a small figure of Rembrandt as a child using a brush to paint on a canvass. What was charming is that the animation was in the same style as Rembrandt’s etchings that we were later to see.

2. This show partnered at the National Gallery in London and at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Transitioning between the two venues, there were scenes of the canals or scenes of those wonderful square houses along the canals – whatever we were seeing was perfectly mirrored in the water of the canal.

3. Rembrandt’s house is a museum – the one where he lived in his later life. The camera was sure to scan the tall walls full of paintings and the bed Rembrandt slept in. Everything was just as I remember seeing it live.

4. The painter did many self-portraits. One of the scenes showed self-portrait after self-portrait; from one of the initial paintings he did, then gradually showing him getting older and older.

5. I am not one to buy something from the gift shop after I see a show like this. But I could feel the urge to get a few 5 x 7 replica’s and put them on some small easels that Wyona gave me. Why not have a Rembrandt in every room house? Or at least a print.

6. The credits were incredible. If you go to the Encore on March 1 notice the number of museums or private collectors that loaned the works for this exhibit. Who would ever get a chance to see all of these works side by side, have it take only 1 ½ hours and be able to sleep in their own bed that night.

And now, tonight? King Lear from the Stratford Festival.


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