There is grandeur in this view of life.
The Natural History Museum is one of London's and the world's great buildings, and, in the place of honour, looking down across the great Central Hall, Darwin offers his mild gaze in stone across to the prancing dinosaur Diplodocus. On Friday the museum is opening an exhibition on Darwin that will take in his 200th birthday, February 12, and end on the 127th anniversary of his death. Next year is also the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin, the book that shook the world - and is still shaking it.
It is a marvellous exhibition, not least in that it is full of marvels. ...
This exhibition is a vivid experience for anyone who has an interest in life. You can gaze on stuffed specimens of the animals that were part of the subtle and cumulative process of reaching his eureka. You can see demonstrations of its unquestionable validity in, for example, the bones of a human hand and arm, the wing of a fruit bat and the foot of a Komodo dragon: all showing their staggering similarities, their incontrovertible kinship.
The man - his life, his thoughts, the long process that led to his revelation - are presented for us to wonder at. The real implication of his work is something we have to work out for ourselves.
The only question is will one visit be enough.