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A bem da Nação

SIX CITIES IN SEVEN DAYS

 

The great artistic match of Rembrandt versus Caravaggio, at the  Van Gogh Museum, in Amsterdam, ended, in my opinion, with the  victory of the latter.

"Sacrifício de Isaac" - Caravaggio

 

"Sacrifício de Isaac" - Rembrant

 

But I must acknowledge that Rembrandt did better than expected and at least in one round overtook his master. I am referring to  the "quasi sacrifice" of  Isaac -  Abraham’s son -  at the hands of his father. Rembrandt’s treatment of this subject impressed me more that anything Caravaggio produced. But, in the end, when you dive into Van Gogh’s collection, you feel happy that Caravaggio or Rembrandt’s school  ended with them.

 

"Girassóis" - van Gogh

 

Jette and  I were staying  at Ryan’s splendid mansion in The Hague.

The Hague, with Richard as a cicerone, becomes the home of gourmandise.  Anyt city of a reasonable dimension patronised by Richard acquires immediately such quality.  We even had a wine taste at Delft.

Who cares for the tulips and ceramics. The white Bourgogne [and Vermeer] made the day.

 

We intended to return to Amsterdam to see the Portuguese Synagogue, but finding the road jammed we decided to switch to Utrecht and did not regret it.

There, you can park at the very urban centre and discover the city  walking. Very picturesque: besides the canals, there is an interesting medieval Cathedral in 2 separated sections. It was about time to see something like that. Why should Cathedrals be always in one single piece?  As for the sefarditas, I found another book [The subject continues to fascinate me]. This writer suggests that Jews created both capitalism [Pentateuch] and anti-capitalism [Karl Marx].

 

In that afternoon, we drove down to Bruges where, by lucky accident, we landed on a charming family hotel  (Flandres Hotel]. 

We stayed there 2 nights. There are only three Van Eyks available in town [one very good]; even so, Bruges vaut bien une visite. Besides good restaurants and several well appointed museums, we had Schumann and Brahms played by the excellent local Orchestra at a 1/3 of the Lisbon cost for similar performances. Very touching.

 

Waterloo justifies the visit altough I do not see it from a military point of view.

 

What puzzles me is the manipulation behind it. What make people accept the idea that dying young in a battle field is a duty and even an

honour.

 

I am quite sure that those who were fighting and while they were doing it were quite happy. (Coincidence: BBC 4 started yesterday a programme with similar accents – how the film industry helped to “sell” the necessary idea at each phase of the IIWW).) 

 

The voyage ended in Brussels, a city too big for our taste and age.

 

Now , back home, I am already missing Richard’s talk . When described by him, the world seems a very interesting place. He can recreate people like Joyce and Becket, make them sit in front of you and participate in the conversation, expressing themselves in their own genuine slang. And more. Besides the poetic vein, he is a man of the world and he can successfully produce  clear interpretations of facts where others fail.    He can even give a meaning to a thing like the UN!  In my opinion, more people should have a chance to hear him. So, I asked him to put himself in printing, but he is reluctant.

 

Love to all

Estoril, Maio de 2006

 

Luís Soares de Oliveira

 

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