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The urge to kiss Rembrandt's cheek

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29.02.2020

Art lovers! Lend me your ears! Promise me that whatever you do you won't give in to the understandable impulse to reach out and touch (let alone kiss) the cheek of Rembrandt when, moved and awed, you stand before his self-portrait in the forthcoming National Gallery of Australia exhibition.

Rembrandt's Self-Portrait At The Age of Thirty-Four is to be one of the superstars of the blocksplintering show Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London, opening at the NGA on November 13.

As well as it being a criminal thing to do, touching the portrait, even getting too close to it, will activate loud sirens and alarm bells and will see the NGA's trained treasures-protecting leopard, Jackson, automatically unleashed to pounce on you, drag you away and tear you apart.

The sunflowers of the van Gogh Sunflowers are probably less radiant than they once were. Picture: Supplied

But I have got ahead of myself and of my theme. Putting Jackson back in his cage for the moment I muse that I have always had the vague sense (but till now have kept it to myself lest I be thought bonkers) that paintings, especially oil paintings, are in a sense alive, that they surely have a kind of a pulse.

Now an informative piece in The New York Times, Sophie Haigney's 'The Scream' Is Fading. New Research Reveals Why, shows that some of my poetic whimsies about paintings have a kind of basis in curatorial science.

On to Ms........

© Canberra Times