Embarrassment of Riches

Simon Schama Checked on the ‘net about Simon Schama, the writer of ‘Rembrandts Eyes’ that I am reading. Just knew he wouldn’t be American – to much finesse about the European senses and sensibilities. So it came as no surprise to learn hat he was educated at Cambridge, worked at Oxford then went to the USA where he now teaches History at Columbia University.

Unusually productive type – check his list of publications, almost all what I call Big Books. I went to the library to find his ‘the embarrassment of riches’, because I was curious about  his outsider look at ‘our’ Golden Age’, but found ‘the eyes of…’ instead. Me being an almost-graduated art student, I decided to go for Rembrandt.

Different hero, same plot: how to deal with riches in a culture that preaches sobriety, and self-restraint, and service to society  ….

I will read the other book, too, as the subject of riches and restrant is very much a contemporary one. In our time  it is individualism and the  ‘what is in it for me’ question that it poses being very much at war with the strong calvinist undercurrent in Dutch society.

Later: the pic of Simon Schama kept bugging me – I felt I’d seen this guy before. Then it came to me: he is the  spit of Gene Hackman, who plays ‘Avery’ in ‘The Firm‘.

Gene Hackman

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