Papa and I brave the freezing drizzle for an afternoon just the two of us, a march around Antwerp’s Christmas Market.
And, after a minute, we seek the much needed warmth as offered by the Antwerp Cathedral, the oh-so-desirable destination of my cousin Laurence’s wedding, an event I begrudgingly missed this past July. Alas, now I see the splendor in which she wed her Stéphane.
Only, this go around, we have another surprise–on display are altarpieces from religious art’s heyday, Peter Paul Rubens and his predecessors grace the transverse and radiating chapels, their triptychs in full splendor, colors bright, adoration of the Christ high, passion raging.
It’s amazing, really, seeing the master’s manipulation of pigment and light, layers and layers of color suspended in medium in just the right thickness to evoke this given reaction, not that one, this emotion over another.
And, juxtaposed to those who pave the way for his genius, Rubens stands as the pinnacle, the master of humanism, baroque interpretations of the human flesh, human interaction. Each muscle is sculpted, every bead of sweat three-dimensional.
It’s a timeline of art history, a move from the abstract to the representational, from the flat to the dimensional, from the literal to the evocative, emotional, back to an abstraction, this time, psychological.
The perfect apéro to a dejeuner with mon papa of croquettes de crevettes.