Beneath the brush of the old masters, darkness is light, familiar is strange and strange becomes familiar. And though some secrets may remain forever secrets, the subjects always seem to wear some look of people passing everywhere or living in the house next door. In Maastricht, they understand: From time to time, the citizens proudly parade their roots - step boldly into view in their fathers' tunics, hats and boots as the pageant of a time long gone is reenacted once again.
And as though by means of a time machine that travels backward into yesterday, when a double in the looking glass changes the angle of a hat or smooths a collar or a belt, the painted faces seem to smile as though to acknowledge it is true, ``As you are me, so I am you.''
Rembrandt's painting ``Night Watch'' is now back on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It was vandalized in April, but a protective layer of veneer kept the painting itself from any harm.