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Fragments of chalk and glass in an oil painting

woman-bathing-in-a-stream-rembrandt-1654I’ll be talking about art on Saturday at Zinema 2 in an event sponsored by the Duluth Art Institute, for the showing of American Splendor. Here is other writing of mine on art; if you like it, I hope to be this elegant Saturday.

A Woman Bathing in a Stream by Rembrandt

When I was 22, I took the bus to New York and visited the Rembrandt/Not-Rembrandt exhibit.

I learned that conservators struggle with Rembrandt’s work, because he added ground chalk and bits of glass to the paint to add texture and to speed drying. These practices make the paintings hard to preserve hundreds of years later.

… fragments of chalk and glass in an oil painting, causing the paint to crack over time.

Those fragments have become integral to identifying a Rembrandt — a painting without them starts from the presumption of forgery. The bits of glass have become a sign of authenticity.

It is impossible to admire a Rembrandt without admiring the cracks and breaks caused by the ground and broken things.

… so it is with falling in love.

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