Monday, July 20, 2015

Lagniappe and Worth a Thousand Words: Chandler and Rembrandt

Rembrandt van Rijn, Self Portrait with Two Circles
They had Rembrandt on the calendar that year, a rather smeary self-portrait due to imperfectly registered color plate. It showed him holding a smeared palette with a dirty thumb and wearing a tam-o’-shanter which wasn’t any too clean either. His other hand held a brush poised in the air, as if he might be going to do a little work after a while, if somebody made a down payment. His face was aging, saggy, full of the disgust of life and the thickening effects of liquor. But it had a hard cheerfulness that I liked, and the eyes were as bright as drops of dew.
Raymond Chandler, Farewell My Lovely
I don't know if this is the portrait Philip Marlowe was looking at because I discovered that Rembrandt did over a hundred self-portraits in his lifetime. But this expression is the one that came to mind when I read that paragraph. "Hard cheerfulness" is the perfect description.

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