Over the holidays we visited Berlin. It was cold and dark, but still no less charming than the last time I visited. This time around I spent a lot of time in museums (of Communication, Egyptian art, East Berlin). My favorite, by far, was the Gemäldegalerie, which specializes in my favorite period, 13th through 18th century European art. What a treat to spend hours taking in Vermeer's light, Bruegel's chaos (do you know this painting? It was all I could do not to press my face into the protective glass.), Claesz's stil lifes, the intricate red threads of Hans Holbein, the way Botticelli renders hair. Days, weeks could be spent in this collection. I'm working on some projects around lace and the galleries were chock full of inspiration. The collars and cuffs are so intricate and careful. From top to bottom, the work of Peter Codde, Jan Anthonisz van Ravesteyn, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy, Werner J. van den Valckert and Frans Hals (final two). I am amazed and fascinated by how artists can render such delicate patterns, and all with gradations of white and gray.