When I was a child, my brother and I were taken at the end of every summer to three museums, the Kröller-Müller in the Hoge Veluwe, the Mauritshuis in The Hague, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, with our mother and her family. We had spent the summer away from her as she had spent the year away from them. The timing lent these visits a ritual quality of reunion and impending departure. The galleries and grounds were quiet, solemn, mostly empty. In the Hoge Veluwe, we paused before Antoine Bourdelle’s sculpture La Grande Pénélope from 1912 in the damp grass. In The Hague, I remember the darkness in the Rembrandts—his Anatomy Lesson on the second floor by the stairs, the anatomist’s forceps lifting tendons out of the arm of a corpse; and the dark...

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