Monday, January 12, 2009

Rembrandt and Rourke

I fall for the hit-rock-bottom-but-rise-back-up scenario. I really do.

In Friday's Times, Holland Cotter had an interesting article about how art can look differently depending on when we see it.

He says regarding Rembrandt,
But art changes all the time, according to what’s going on around it. Now I was looking at Dutch painting from inside an economic collapse, with a market on the rocks and Gilded Age revealed as fool’s gold. The art looked different.

Rembrandt, it seems, lost everything – he was on top of the world, and then fell to the bottom. But, he kept on going.

Cotter says,
Living in near-poverty, public reputation shot, with nothing to gain or lose, Rembrandt was painting in a fresh way because he was painting mostly for himself.

He ends somewhat sentimentally, but I fall for it:

I’m not saying hard times alone produced this painting. Rembrandt and art are so much more complicated than that. But when he was put to the test by circumstance, he somehow turned catastrophe into opportunity; turned his weakness into strength. From almost nothing — a little paint, a stretch of cloth, a freed-up mind and an unembarrassed heart — he made this.

The same is true of Mickey Rourke it seems. He found fame early and then became a real asshole, but then he lost everything - EVERYTHING. Then, through psychotherapy (APPLAUSE), he came out the other side, slowly but surely. One result: The Wrestler.

Frankly, I find it inspiring. I don't really want to romanticize that route, but... ok, I do want to.