Situation in Hand, my post on Rembrandt’s etching The French Bed, has received more hits than any of my other entries, suggesting my audience might be as lowbrow as I am. Then and again, how lowbrow can we be if we’re discussing Rembrandt, one of the giants of Western art? It isn’t like we’re jawing over that picture of dogs playing poker. Rembrandt was certainly a genius but he was also, like me, an earthy guy, so here’s another etching for your consideration. It depicts the Biblical tale The Good Samaritan. Notice the breathtaking detail Rembrandt achieves, the mastery of cross-hatching, perspective and chiaroscuro—the use of light and shade. But Rembrandt gives us something more, an unabashedly frank detail that might have made a Victorian lady blush and fall off her chair. The dog in the bottom right corner, often cropped in nicer art books, is ignoring all human activity while answering the call of nature.
Do you have a favorite work of art? Tell us about it, even if it is those dogs playing poker. (Did you notice that one of them is cheating?)