October 31 and London was bathed in sunshine this afternoon. Children were stripped down to nappies and pants, splashing in the fountains and jumping over the water spouts. I ate a late lunch sitting outside, wishing I hadn't put on warm autumny clothes this morning.Then a golden twilight fell very suddenly in the park and I set off for home.
I'd finished work early, was near Trafalgar Square anyway and, torn between what I ought to be doing (choosing a new cooker in John Lewis) and what I wanted to do, I naturally found myself in the National Gallery at the Rembrandt exhibition. But it was heaving with people and there wasn't a moment of stillness to contemplate one magnificent painting after another. I didn't want to jostle in front of the tenderness of Isaac and Rebecca, the Jewish Bride ...
I was transfixed by Catrina Hoogshaet's incredibly painful looking gold hairpins. See how they pinch her flesh?
And despite the crowds, this Apostle Bartholomew drew me across the room. He has such a timeless quality. Painted in 1661, but something in the craggy weariness of his face seems very modern.
This is a staggeringly good exhibition but I left in frustration at the blockbuster experience after an hour. I'll try again, maybe earlier in the week, or earlier in the morning.