Tuesday, February 9, 2010

At the Art Museum

I remember the first time I saw a Vincent Van Gogh painting in person. Until then, I had only seen prints. I even had one hanging in my room. Starry Night. It was beautiful, although it was only a poster. But when I saw the real thing, I was utterly in awe.
The colors were brilliant. There is no comparison between the real painting and a photograph. The painting is alive. It took my breath away. I could not get enough of the texture, the rough layers of his paintings. I had no idea what I had been missing until I experienced the real thing. It only made me love his work even more.

That was my first "art moment". That moment when a piece of art fills my soul and I am taken away by its beauty, and I marvel at the ability of a person to create such richness. I marvel at the gifts of creativity our Creator has given us. It happens when I listen to music, read something, or watch dancers. It is very emotional. It is very fulfilling.

And yet, I don't get enough of it. So when my dear friend, Alicia, wanted to celebrate her birthday by brunching at a french cafe and then visiting an art museum, I was more than ready to join in. It sounded like a birthday party for me!

We went to the Norton Simon in Pasadena. As soon as we entered, I felt a sense of calm. And excitement.

I love museums. I don't get to them often enough. Visiting one always makes me feel like I am traveling. Probably because we always visit museums when we travel. Some of my favorite memories are of museums: the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, filled with some of my most favorite art of all time, the photographic exhibits at the Getty, which always leave me spellbound and seeing the David in Florence, my most powerful art moment ever.
And how can I not love room after room devoted to the celebration and enjoyment of beauty?

Here are some of my favorites. These grapes, although you can't tell in this picture, are transparent. How does one achieve that? It is utterly amazing.

These rough sculptures by Degas are still so lovely. They made me smile and think of the very rough sculptures James has been working on this week.

I also loved the modern art. The colors are spectacular. And I love how there can be so many different kinds of art, the very old, very ornate paintings of Christ and the virgin, the Impressionist and their scenes of every day life, and the modernists, exploring shape and form and color. They are all so different and so beautiful.

This one was a hands down favorite. The colors draw you in. It is just so beautiful.

As I walked around, I wanted more than anything to bring James back. I knew how much he would enjoy it. How he would study the painting of David and Goliath in all its gruesome detail. How he'd look at some of the modern paintings and say, "hey, I could make that!". The scale of things would impress him. He'd have fun.
And then I got kind of panicky. I haven't even taken him to an art museum yet. We've done lots of other kinds of museums, but not strictly art. Unless I take him alone, bringing the 3 of them seems daunting to me. (as discussed here) He's almost 6. Have I failed him in this area of his development already?

It is hard not to be overwhelmed sometimes by all the opportunities I'd like to give my children. There are so many fabulous things in our world that I want to show them, teach them, and help them to enjoy. I know I just have to take a deep breath and do the best I can. We will only scratch the surface of all that's out there for us to enjoy. And that my friends, will still be a lot.

So, we'll be spending more days, at the art museum. And who knows, I might even try to take all 3 of them. Do I dare????


Naomi said...

What a fantastic post Greta! You describe those moments so beautifully - they truly are emotional. And how sad that I don't remember spending any time noticing that Van Gogh when we went to the Norton Simon last year. Oh, that's right, I had my 3 kids with me :) Beware... we went as a group and upon approach, we were met by CIA like "suits" who tracked us the rest of our day while communicating with each other through their ear pieces. Nevertheless, it was completely worth it. The collection is remarkable.

Erin McDonald said...

I have yet gone to an art musium ( I can't even spell the word) And although this makes me sad, I know I have had many other cool exspearences! I loved the photos you took they make me want to go too! maybe when we come to visit we can come too and help you with the not so artsy ones?

jennifer said...

absolutely! i have been thinking of going to the getty with the boys for weeks now. it's time to just do it. i like the getty idea, because there is a lot of space, outside too... gardens to run around in the midst of the art observations! i just finished reading alicia's email about the CM co-op and thought it would be great to add museums to our destinations!

Mommy of three said...

Naoim, thanks! And you are a rock star for taking your kids. Teach me!

Jenifer, I love the Gettty. It is such a kid friendly place. You can just explore the gardens.
I have taken James there--it's been a long time though. It's been on my list to do again. I wanted to wait until Spring, when the gardens are really beautiful and it's not hot yet. I think all my kids would love it.

Erin, maybe the Getty should be your intro to art museums. I think you would love it. It is one of the most amazing museums I've been to.
Let's go when you come!!!!

Tammy Callis said...

I can also remember seeing my first Van Gough in person The world stopped and went silent and I felt the world as I knew it would never be the same. So magical. And the sculpture David! Don't even get me started, how could a silly old sculpture be so breathtaking?

I have taken Magnolia to a lot of museums but that's only because I had just her for so long. Also, she tags along with Ryan to work things at museums sometimes. I have yet to take the girls now that there are two of them and I guess 3 and 4 would feel downright daunting. Maybe if we go as a group together, some of us can play outside with the younger ones while we walk through one on one with our older ones?

Kim said...

But this looks really stunning..
If you too are enlightened by the extraordinary modern art paintings that fuels creativity, ignites minds, and provides inspiration.. then you must visit: