Rembrandt and the Ice Bear


Original version

Today was my work Christmas party which meant a trip to London. I caught an early train and made for Trafalgar Square. An ice bear stood in front of the National Gallery. Although cold weather had prolonged its survival, its bronze skeleton had become exposed. Drip, drip, in the sunshine.

Ice polar bear sculpture

The forecast is for snow.

Inside, the gallery was light, airy and uplifting. My train had run late: I didn’t have long. I tracked down my favourite paintings which were where I last saw them. The later works need a clean up. The Van Goghs were pitted and grimy. Seurat’s bathers could do with a wash. Monet, Cezanne and Degas looked faded.

By contrast, Holbein’s Christina of Denmark seemed vivid and clear.

Christina of Denmark

There were just three people in the room with the Rembrandts.

I thought about the Banksy exhibition in Bristol this summer, when people queued for three hours. I set off down The Strand. I had a party to get to.