Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dutch Masters

I took in some Rembrandt and contemporaries yesterday evening, in the company of two doctors and a lawyer, roughly my age, and all fetching women, except Mary is my cousin (our grandmothers were sisters) and the other two are married.

We scooted from the Portland Art Museum gift shop to Old Wives Tales for some sisterly chatter afterwards. I got that Hungarian mushroom soup and the salad bar, ending with Tillamook peppermint ice cream and black coffee.

These Dutch Masters were at the top of their games, as were so many of those in their frames. The Dutch were enjoying some of the highest living standards ever known. Yet the Vanitas near the entrance delivered the punchline about death and taxes. This was a human skull, exquisitely depicted from six angles (placed in different partially overlapping locations (this ain't your grandmother's cubism)), an hourglass in one corner, a burning-in candle in another.