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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, August 26, 2016

rembrandt observes a dog trying to make a friend

thanks wikiart.org (PD)
1636: Rembrandt does what he does best - capturing a small moment of life that evokes a great deal of feeling.  This is his sketch of "A Woman with a Child Frightened by a Dog." What monstrous canine are we going to find?  Why, it's only a greyhound, with a foot tentatively forward, and nose raised in what looks like a curious sniff.  I've seen both cats and dogs do this to little kids, as if they smell differently from adult humans.  Meanwhile, the toddler is not thrilled at this beast who is up in his face, benign intent or not, yet the woman is marvelously portrayed as sheltering the little one while brokering the meeting of dog and child.  If she was worried, she'd be throwing more of her body between the two, but she's smiling.  Up above, somebody in a turban is watching the whole thing like it's television.  I suppose back then the streets were everyone's television.
This is what I love about Rembrandt.  He has a way of making the smallest gestures capture you at a gut level.  I've sheltered kiddies while they decide about dogs.  I've explained to my dog that not everybody will love you right away.  For another example of Rembrandt's ability to capture deep human feeling with the merest of motions, please see "The Jewish Bride."

1 comment:

parlance said...

A lovely portrait and your analysis brings it to life.