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On Rembrandt and Diversity

A trip to the DIA invites reflection on the diversity of the West Bloomfield community, asking readers to comment on what enjoy about West Bloomfield's cultural diversity.

A couple of weeks ago some folks from and I traveled to the Detroit Institute of Art to view the Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus exhibit. It was very worthwhile, and I recommend it for anyone-whether you are religious or not.  

Although this is not my favorite period in art history, I was fascinated at the transformation of style and approach from Rembrandt's earlier religious paintings to his later ones. Rembrandt was among the first European painters (prehaps the first) to use a real-life model for his Jesus figure-and someone of Jewish heritage at that. This was considered quite a revolutionary approach to painting Christian themes.

It was humbling and gratifying to experience. Humbling because it reminded me of how easy it is to assume that the culture we live in now is the way things have always been. We take for granted the privilege of living and working in a wonderfully diverse community such as West Bloomfield. Through it, we are able to experience many different cultures, ways of life, and belief systems.  

The exhibit reminds viewers how revolutionary Rembrandt was, not only in his method of representing the figure of Jesus, but in his very lifestyle. He lived in the Jewish neighborhood of Amsterdam for more than a decade, although he wasn't Jewish himself. In the 21st century, we might actually find that kind of quaint, or at least odd. We are accustomed to a certain amount of diversity in everyday life.

What do you enjoy most about the diverse community in West Bloomfield? As a relative newcomer, I look forward to learning more about the area and enjoying local features. I'd love to hear your ideas.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert James Miller February 16, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I think it is amazing that an artist such as Rembrandt in his diversity of styles and ways of depicting Christ, that his Christ head portraits have remained the most revered Christ heads in our art history. What is also amazing is that Rembrandt's religious works are excluded from the King James version of the Bible.

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