Thanks to my profile on academia.edu, I’ve recently gotten to correspond about this old friend, the subject of my master’s thesis. It appeared last year in an exhibition at the Tate Gallery, its first loan (I believe) away from the Ashmolean since the First World War.
I remember a professor of mine once describing the experience of seeing paintings he had written a book about in a museum after many years. The expectation that the painting must recognize you in some way, be grateful for your attention, a reciprocation of your own feelings of familiarity. The humility that comes upon realizing that you are, of course, nothing to the object, just another museum visitor, and that it remains ever as inscrutable to you, despite the years of thought and labor.