Lots of you will know that I recently went to Amsterdam for a few days - the first time I had been abroad in ages. We did lots of wandering about and I visited the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, both amazing places, despite the Rijksmuseum being mainly closed. Although there were only about 5 rooms open, I still managed to spend at least 3 hours in the place - a large part of this sitting looking at Rembrandt's The Jewish Bride.
There was a portrait of Rembrandt by his pal Jan Lievens linked here which makes him handsomer and squarer jawed than he tends to make himself - although he is a little pop eyed, and does still have the silly hair. Mind you, I have silly hair myself, so I know how hard it can be to control . . .
Also, there was a special exhibition comparing early Degas self portraits with early Rembrandt's. This was truly fascinating - both the paintings and the etchings. Sitting there looking at them I feel I learnt more than I could have from several hours of lectures or teaching. Not least that size is a very important consideration. But most of all it was the treatment of the light and background space. The little painting called Small Beauty, which I entered into the RGI, was painted the weekend I got back!