Rembrandt Van Rijn, born July 15, 1606 in the Netherlands, was a painter concerned deeply with the light within. His work causes us to reflect on the balance between what we know through our mind and what we really know through our heart mind; our deep connection to Source.
I was 12 years old when I first met this picture, in an art history class. The teacher asked us to find the source of the light…Searching, I realized that the light did not come from any place in the outside. The “light bulb” (actually a candle in those days) was located on the right side of his head! A smaller source is located where today we recognize as the high heart. This inextinguishable light goes from the high heart, through his head and joins the light above it. The painter illuminates the environment. In fact, this lighting treatment occurs in everyone of Rembrandt’s paintings. The light source is always from within. What a concept!
As many of you know, “the light within” has been a source of blog posts, meditations, and art work. I learned over time that it is my most important source of wisdom. It is my connection to Source. When I make decisions, speak or act from this source, I am in balance. When I don’t notice it, I create trouble for myself and others. Contemplating Rembrandt’s work taught me the first lessons and offered a preview of our constant battle between heart and mind; logic and inner knowing. Rembrandt’s works have been my inspiration since those early days.
When I moved to the USA with my family, I brought with me a reproduction of Man With A Golden Helmet. It was a gift from my father who knew of my love affair with Rembrandt and liked the strength of this face and the glorious golden helmet. Dad liked his moustache as he sported one too, throughout his life. He had purchased it on a visit on my behalf to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It hanged in my parents living room until we removed it when my father passed last year.
Dad liked how the light source is on the right side of his head and shines through the helmet and graces the face, showing strength and warmth. He liked to think of himself as rational. I am not going to elaborate on my dad’s rational side. Let me say that he was skilled in the arts of battling the heart and mind throughout his life. But what about the little yet powerful light that from the right shoulder, shines directly on the face? What do you think?
Happy Birthday, dear teacher!