Someone living here has a house-guest, and since it isn't me I decided to make myself scarce for a few hours to give the couple a little time alone
A wet and windy Sunday, where to go?
I drove to Oxford, intent on the Ashmolean. And there I spent an hour or so rushing hither and thither without purpose, trying to take in too much, always the over-achiever, slow down, take your time, you do not have to do it all in a day, except that sometimes I worry that there will not be enough time left and so I must try to do as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
I paused and went to drink a latte in the café. And then I had a word with myself, as we say here. And I told myself that quality beats quantity, at least when it comes to museum visits, and that there will be other days and so I climbed the stairs to Gallery 45, Dutch Art, I think, and was amazed and entranced by the little Rembrandt's First Paintings - Sensation exhibition.
Rembrandt's First Paintings
The Senses, temporarily on display at the Ashmolean, are the earliest surviving works by the most famous of all Dutch artists, Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669).
Painted when he was around eighteen years old, the four panels depict representations of 'Sight', 'Touch', 'Hearing' and 'Smell', the fifth – 'Sense of Taste' – remains undiscovered. This is the very first time that the four surviving panel paintings have been on show together in public, after 'Smell' was rediscovered in 2015.
The Senses were created around 1624–25 when Rembrandt was still a teenager. They are clearly the creations of a young artist who is still developing his own style but they already show great promise. The Senses reveal glimpses of the celebrated painter Rembrandt would become: his bold use of bright colours, his broad brushwork, his ability to capture human expressions, as well as his experimental treatment of light.