Photographer's Note


2006 marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of Rembrandt, premiere among painters of the Dutch Golden Age. The truly great artist can put more life in his portrait than one sometimes sees in the living. The ‘Old Rabbi’ of Rembrandt certainly shows more vitality and vim than the haggard looking pair of unidentified tourists sitting in front of the portrait. The scene is a corner of the extraordinary Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.

I shot this image on August 6, 1990, when the cruise ship, Royal Viking Sun, on which I was lecturing, was docked in what was still “Leningrad,” the gem of the Soviet Union in the Baltic Sea. It was shortly before the USRR had set upon its unremitting path to centrifuge its component-states, with Leningrad soon to revert to its original name “St. Petersburg.” The magnificent city of canals and palaces, museums and churches was showing the signs of long neglect. The collection of paintings in the museum, however, is still one of the richest in the world. I used a Nikon 2020 with fairly fast film, Kodachrome-200 slide film, especially rich in flesh tones, and scanned it recently.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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