In Rembrandt’s scene of 1653,
Aristotle Contemplating a Bust
of Homer, there is much that we can see
amidst that musty sett(l)ing of gold dust
that balances upon the old and new,
upon the dark and light, upon the dead
and living, giving forth beams of the true
and glimmerings that shoot forth from the head.
It is a Hamlet moment, when he looks
upon poor Yorick’s skull. So Rembrandt, too,
peers in upon the past, not on the books,
but on the wide, bright, silk sleeves and the thick, gold chain,
a gift from Alexander touched his brain,
and opened an extr’ordinary view.

 

Featured Image: “Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer” by Rembrandt van Rijn.

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