I was at the Metropolitan the other day, spending the most time at the “In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met” exhibit. Rembrandt is a great painter of course, but he’s never been a personal favorite of mine, his paintings just don’t speak to me emotionally. I don’t know what changed, I want to say the paintings were hung a little lower than usual, but god knows if that’s true. I just felt closer to them, that I was looking at the people in the portraits more directly. In any case, I was astounded. It was like looking at living people, I could see who they were (or who Rembrandt thought they were). My overwhelming thought was that I’d never adequately appreciated Rembrandt before. The faces in the portraits were amazing, although not all of them. I should have noted the dates. Some were like before, they didn’t speak to me.

A shot of the Christmas tree at the Met, from the point of view I had when I sang there with the Choral Society of Grace Church, a highlight of my choral singing life.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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