Page the Second


A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

I once TOUCHED a Rembrandt. Yeah. True story.

It was in a museum in Berlin, Germany. I was there with my parents and a group of students we were shepherding around Europe. I was in the room without my parents (they'd moved on to other exhibits). I saw the alarm lines leading down to the picture and knew it was alarmed, and yet some little gremlin in my brain said, "It'll be freaky to say you'd done it! You're just touching it. Do it!"
So I did.

I reached up and touched a Rembrandt self-portrait.

And then the alarm went off and several burly guards came running in shrieking at me in German. They were red-faced and one of them even spat at me while he was yelling. I just stood there hoping against hope that my parents wouldn't come flailing in to scream at me too. In fact, I just knew it would happen. I waited for the other shoe to drop, completely expecting to have the handcuffs clamped onto my wrists and be hauled off to a German prison as the sixteen-year-old art thief they knew me to be.

And then they all left! They sloped off into the other room, where I heard them yacking about "the little girl in the other room who couldn't keep her mitts off the Rembrandts". I was so mortified! I WAS SIXTEEN FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD! Couldn't they see I was clearly not a toddler? Then my logic cell kicked in and I stopped worrying about whether they thought I was old enough to drive and started being thankful that they weren't locking me in the klink.

My parents, amazingly, only heard the alarm. They hardly even payed it another thought. They didn't ever knew that I was the culprit. I told my friends and we all had a laugh. I suppose they could blackmail me with it, if they weren't my dear friends. Because everybody knows touching artwork is the gateway drug to bigger, more dangerous endeavors, like College Humanities 101...shudder.


  1. You silly girl. What if everyone wanted to touch it? What would everyone's body oil do to it? I'd never thought about that until we were in a cave and saw what people touching the stalactites (or whichever kind it was) did. Killed them. No more growth.

    And yeah. You're lucky they didn't arrest you. lol

  2. Now after I'd been through college art courses and knew about the archival quality being dependent on the picture not being touched by the oils of thousands of people? Now that I've been a caver for years and, like Donna says, know about how that wrecks things?

    I don't know...:o)

    Probably not. But it's a moot point now.

    We got to see some pretty freaking cool things on that trip...like the bust of Queen Nephertiti and whole Egyptian friezes. We saw East Berlin before the wall came down (a friend got deported from there on that trip). We saw several castles and palaces. We climbed up to the James Bond hideout from ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. They got to see my 600 year old apartment building in Austria. Good times.

  3. Wasn't that on July 4 1976 when you were at checkpoint Charlie? I remember Dan's story.
    You always were the bad girl at heart :-).


  4. Heh...I remember your role at said checkpoint, Oh Dave. And no, it wasn't the fourth, but pretty close. You don't remember the alarm going off? Maybe I was safer than I thought...;o)

    1. I should have said dave l. sorry to confuse...

  5. Definitely, Dave...rofl. I wished you had gotten to go. That would have been really fun. Bad girl Schmadgirl...rofl
    Anyway, look what it lead to: being a freelance artist and writer...rofl