On Thursday May 2nd, we visited the London Zoo.  London Zoo is the world's first scientific zoo (opened in 1828), located next to lovely Regent Park.  John picked up monkey sounds after watching and listening to these monkeys.
While John liked seeing the real lions, he loved riding this plastic one. The sign says "The Most Destructive Animal in the World". 
Then we visited the British National Gallery at Trafalgar Square.   The square is named for the naval battle won by Horatio Nelson.  Big New Years' Celebrations take place here every year.  Here's one of the four big fountains in the Square. Here's John warming up his engines to make a mad dash for the pigeons....







...and he's off!!!

The British National Gallery has one of the greatest collection of European art anywhere.  We really liked the Rembrandt Van Rijn collection.  After reading Henri Nouwen's The Prodigal Son about Rembrandt, we've taken an interest in the work and spiritual life of this 17th century Dutch painter.  Rembrandt is interesting because of the way he paints people.  The light and darkness at first make his paintings stark and austere, but the closer and longer you look at them, the more you see flesh colors and warmth in their faces, along with incredible detail.  After we came back, Mako visited the Gallery's website and downloaded these pictures: 

Belshazzar's Feast is to the right.  It portrays events described in the Book of Daniel, from which we get the phrase "the handwriting is on the wall."  God's hand writes a doomsday message about the downfall of the Babylonian Empire.   The affluence of Belshazzar's robe is amazing here.  In general, we love Rembrandt's use of light and darkness.
The Adoration of the Shepherds, portraying the newborn Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and of course, the shepherds.  It's poetic that the source of light in the scene is the infant Jesus. The Woman Taken in Adultery, portraying John 8:1-11.  A woman accused of adultery is brought before Jesus.  
Ecce Homo, a picture of Jesus before Pontius Pilate.  The priests and Pharisees are pressing the sceptre of judgment into Pilate's hands.  We don't know what the anachronistic clock tower means.  Lamentation Over the Dead Christ.  It shows Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene and others, weeping over his body after the Crucifixion.

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