Rembrandt Van Rijn, Aristotle with a Bust of Homer, Oil on canvas, 1653. 56 1/2 ” x 55 3/4″. Metropolitan Museum of Art. (photo taken with my iPhone)

Today, I ventured through the wee 23 degrees of New York air to make my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The lobby was enough to make any art enthusiast weak in the knees! Hoards of people swarmed like flies at each designated vestibule waiting for his/her turn to claim the metallic button and find entrance. At first I shuddered and then grinned widely realizing I would soon be standing in front of the masterpieces that hadn’t captured my gaze in several months. Languidly walking the expansive galleries I took in all my favorites…..Tiepolo, El Greco, Velazquez, Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, and Manet. Even in rooms varying in temperature from the warm buzzing bodies of other museum goers, I found solace in taking in surface, texture and stroke of the brush, each movement a personal interpretation of one artists vision.

On this trip in particular I found myself most taken aback by the room of Rembrandt paintings. His figures not only radiate light from their person but also sit in domes of light that hold them in place within the frame of the canvas. The image above, Aristotle with the Bust of Homer, may actually be my new favorite painting of the moment…!

From Web Gallery of Art:
Rather than choose a single figure, the enormously inventive artist found a way to present three of the great men of antiquity: Aristotle, Homer, and Alexander the Great. Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher of the fourth century B.C., is shown in his library dressed in the robes of a Renaissance humanist. He rests his hand on a bust of Homer and wears a splendid chain bearing a medallion of Alexander the Great, who had at one time been Aristotle’s pupil. The figure of Homer was certainly based on one of several Hellenistic busts owned by Rembrandt; the figure of Aristotle is reminiscent of Rembrandt’s portraits of the Jews of the Amsterdam ghetto, whom he had often used as models in his biblical paintings. The solemn stillness of Aristotle’s study, the eloquence of his fingers resting on the bust of the blind poet, and above all the brooding mystery in his face unite to communicate an image of deep thought.

As with any successful trip to the Met, I strolled in and out of time periods, in and out of countries and cultures, and as always left the way I came; gracefully grinning.

More soon!