Last Friday, I spent a good five hours in an art museum, and it was beautiful. Fantastic. My goal was to find somewhere to “study” (and I did do some work in the café/ impressionist portraiture room), but the works in the museum were amazing as well. I was going to go back today, too, but the rain that had been threatening all morning finally arrived in all its dreary glory, and walking thirty minutes in the rain sans umbrella didn’t seem like the best idea. So about an hour of Mock the Week later (funniest things…), I’m still indoors… Back to art.
Anyway, I was privileged enough to see a triptych of Monet’s water lilies and ended up sitting in front of them for a good, solid hour. Just looking, and then writing:
At first, I couldn’t really tell if I was impressed by the art or the artists’ names – by my own judgment or the opinions of others.
But this… this is strange.
I’m sitting in front of Monet’s Agapanthus, and the longer I look, the more amazed I become. The colors, the strokes, the size… and suddenly, I have an enormous lump in my throat, and I’m astounded and a little confused. I don’t know what it is. But in this moment, I am dwarfed by the painting and his artistry.
It feels wrong to do work here. I was thinking about it… but no. This… the thing about art is that it preserves a tiny piece of that person who created it for everyone else to see and observe. Looking at these pieces made by long-dead hands, I feel somehow connected to these men of different cultures and eras. When I saw that van Gogh made those paintings right before his suicide, I couldn’t help but be moved. That poor, dear, underappreciated man. But he left behind a part of himself- a piece of his soul- for us to know him.
And almost as interesting (if not as interesting) as the art are the people around me looking as well. Passing through, changing, milling about. Since I’ve been sitting in front of this work, the room has already changed almost entirely several times.
There are a lot of couples who seem interested, or are trying to be. Some listening to the guided tours. Several elderly folks who truly appreciate this beauty – more than I do, I know. One solitary old man who looks like he’s stepped straight out of the impressionist era minus the straw hat.
And the ones who just stop and stare, smile, gasp, point, trace with a finger in the air the curves of the art to their children, their other, themselves. I’m witnessing the power of this dead paint to move someone. Of course it’s not the paint, but a capturing and reflection of the soul who placed it there.
There’s still a lump in my throat.
Read this: “For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.” ~John Milton.