WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Friday, July 14, 2006

Greatest Movement...

Rembrandt is 400 years old today...of course, many of those years his body has just been mouldering in the grave, but Rembrandt the artist has been in our collective consciousness oh these many years, because some of his paintings have made a deep impression on many peoples of many cultures...I'm not the greatest student of art, but I know what I like, or what moves me, and Rembrandt's touch is unmistakable, no one quite captures what he captures...(kind of like Keith Richards in that regard).

As I get older, and just a reminder, all of us are getting older (alas, we're all on the same merry go round), at least in the physical realm, (a case can be made, and I'm ready to go with it hook, line and sinker, that we are more than our bodies, we have something, or are something, that transcends the physicality of our bodies - consciousness itself seems to be a good example - although what happens to that consciousness when our bodies melt into the ground is anybody's guess) but maybe it's that case that some of us can grow younger as we grow older, in some kind of spiritual sense - Dylan's phrase: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

What's really striking about Rembrandt, besides his unworldy attention to, and exquisite rendering of light, is his honesty in depicting the disintegration of the flesh. He is known to have used the phrase: "the greatest and most natural movement." No one exactly knows what he meant, but look at one of his canvasses, especially his series of self-portraits, and watch the trajectory of a life, a man from young to old, and I think we get a strong hint of what he was going for. There is no sin in growing old, in fact, in many ways, it only happens to the lucky ones. See the daily newspaper for a chronicle of the unlucky.

If we can face the truth of age with clear-sighted honesty, maybe we can see beauty in the decay, a nobility in the lines and creases, a story in the scars and folds of a face collapsing upon itself. It is natural, it is only the greatest movement...

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