Posted by: mensab | March 23, 2008

Seeing Rembrandt

 three crosses  After the Holy Week, I ought to write about an image that kept on flashing on my mind. An image that consumed me for 20 minutes when I saw it. I felt at that time I existed for that image, to be awed, to be still, to interrogate my faith, to see myself through that image.

My last days in Costa Rica were capped by a visit to museum. The Museo del Banco Central  de Costa Rica brought 56 original sketches of Rembrandt to San Jose, Costa Rica. It was a rare and probably once in a lifetime chance to see original Rembrandt.

It was Saturday. I was set to leave Costa Rica on Monday at 3AM. There were parties (fiestas) waiting to be crashed/attended. I chose to see Rembrandt.

Who is Rembrandt to me? I have a sketchy knowledge about Rembrandt. What I know  is that he produced images from the Bible. He brought to life some of the famous Biblical scenes.

Outside the museum, there were many people waiting and wanting to see Rembrandt. As I was waiting for my turn,  I was able to practice my scant Spanish with a Tica student. I asked her why she came to see Rembrandt. She told me that she had nothing to do. Ironically, I was there, not because I had nothing to do. In fact, I had so many things to do.

When I finally got inside the museum, I lost her company and her name too. I started to look at the sketches.. black and white…hummmm…. hmmmmm…. dark and light… hmmmmmm…. contrast.. harmony.. hmmmmmm..

Then I saw her at a distance.. then I saw an image… the three crosses.. I saw my salvation.. I saw glory, my own.. I breathed life and death… I felt heaven dawning, here, now.. I heard songs of praise.. I thought victory, triumph of good.. I thought surrender, yielding to the light from Above.. I was nothing.

Then I lost her again.. I felt I lost myself when I went out of the museum. I saw everything around the plaza de la cultura.. They all made sense, colorful. It was like seeing them the first time, like a child seeing things.

Seeing Rembrandt is seeing life in, with me; seeing life in it, with it.

I wondered what the Tica student had done after seeing Rembrandt – still had nothing to do. I doubted.


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