When looking at a Rembrandt from the normative distance that people usually adhere to in a museum, one can see the pronounced strokes and thick globs of paint. Yet when one takes a couple steps back, sometimes even all the way to the other end of the gallery – at just the right distance, as though one is carefully adjusting a lens to bring an image into focus, the portrait comes to life.
There is often a conflict when considering an object from a close minute scale as opposed to a macro perspective. Whether it be the unresolved laws of quantum mechanics and general relativity, or the deconstruction of preconceived judgments about nations of people when one actually interacts with a single individual from that ‘group’.
The understanding of this dynamic is part of the genius of Rembrandt. Just like the state of reality, often when first perceived, the parts appear inanimate, yet somehow at just the right distance, a life and energy appears that contradicts or transforms the initial observation.