An excerpt from

Rembrandt's Model
by Yeshim Ternar

Rembrandt and his future model ambled along the canals toward Rozengracht. With Rembrandt Samuel saw Amsterdam as he had never seen it before. The city seemed to speak to him through its shapes and textures, its gradations of colour and light, density and emptiness. He wondered what Rembrandt did to bring about this magical effect. Perhaps it was the leisurely way he walked, pausing in the midst of a sentence to angle his head to observe the shadow of a low-lying cloud on the facade of a gabled house, or the way he smiled ever so slightly when a beggar with a particularly theatrical costume crossed their path.

Samuel had never observed objects or people like this. His ears had always been attentive to languages, and written texts had certainly fascinated him. Nature, because it is God-given, and not man-made, had also demanded his attention. Because he could rest his mind in nature and take refuge in its simplicity, he had observed it. But, he had never paid much attention to the qualities of man-made things -- their shapes, colour, size, and weight. Things had held his interest only when they were unique in the world, when the word describing them in one language was not translatable into another.