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Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Seeing Real Art

In Art on February 16, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Photo by Kent Bartlett

By Marianne Wood

When I first saw what would become my favorite Caravaggio, St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, it drew me in, and I paused a minute or two, knowing it was special. Then as I drew away, I felt gripped by a clawing and growing emotion.  So I returned, to try and make sense of this feeling and this painting.  Further scrutiny helped me realize that the artist’s passion for his subject – a cloaked friar held tenderly by an angel in a mysterious setting – stirred my own passions and nearly left me weeping in a public space.

I have looked at art since I was a young girl visiting museums with my mother and grandmother, and have seen many of the great works – celebrated ones in celebrated spaces over decades of travel and touring – but this was my first experience with this kind of burst of emotion. I wished I could shoo away a dozen or so other fans, and sit alone with the piece.

Then there are the works that are like old friends. We have a relationship of sorts, and I visit them in permanent collections whenever I’ve a chance.

Recently while on a museum field trip escorting some high school students, I discovered a new “friend” in the Amon Carter Museum. I felt surprise and rewarded for patient investigation, as I rounded a corner and encountered a small bronze statue – a study actually, by John Storrs for a monument to Walt Whitman.  This machine-age work exhibited the glory and energy of American art coming of age in the 1920s.  I was still wallowing in the joy of this find when a text came from a fellow teacher:

“[Avery] says her mind is blown and she has questions for you. We are in the Kimbell perm collection if you don’t mind.”

I replied quickly, “I’ll b right there.”

tree branch fireworks

Photo by Samantha Brock

The student’s brain was on fire… she was almost literally bouncing up and down; between quick walks through the works that looked familiar to her after only one semester of art history.  Michelangelo’s first painting, created when he was only 13, was fresh on her mind.  There were many other works, both at the Kimbell and later at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which gave her the experience of what might be described as “art endorphins”.

I thank the artists who give us this art. A thank you too, to the architects, for making the experiences of the spaces wonderful. Also, a thank you to museum patrons, and our local foundation for funds to experience real art in person.

Which can make all the difference.

frosty alaska

Photo by Jill Molloy
Alaska

Editor’s Note:

Have you had this happen? Times when you saw a painting, a sculpture or perhaps a vista and felt like crying, you were so moved? I wonder what is going on when that happens? What is it? Interesting to share and explore this issue. Not necessary though ~ enjoying it can be quite enough.  ~HR

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