The Art! The Art! – Paris, France
Most of you would have had some form of art education by now. You would have had school trips to art museums, or maybe got a brief art history in one of your classes. Me, my education didn’t really focus on that aspect of art. We studied archeological remnants, pottery and the likes in history class. In art class we painted, drew and colored. It wasn’t until I left to study in the US that I really saw what classic art looked like, and it wasn’t until I started taking Art History classes in Paris did I really understand the history behind it.
It was in Chicago, and through one of those bad art replica calendar things that I was introduced to Monet. You should have seen my college room then, little squares filled with dots of color strewn all over my walls. But still, a lot of the art I saw whilst I was in Chicago were modern art. Things that I enjoyed, but didn’t always get.
Then in Paris, I started learning about the history behind a lot of the art pieces. We started from religious art, icons, paintings, and the explanation of how the art paralleled the history of the world, the spread of Christianity and the wars. And moved from dark colors to the burst of Impressionism.
(In the D’Orsay)
The first time I stepped into the Louvre, I was mind blown. I didn’t know where to look and how to take it all in. The first time I saw the extensive collection of Monet I almost cried. I sat on the chair in the middle of the room and just stared at the walls for a good part of 30 minutes.
You know those people who stare at art, rub their chin and nod? I’m not one of those people. When I see art, I appreciate it for what it is. The extensive brushwork, the detailed chiseling of marble, and what I can imagine is the history behind it. I don’t dain to try and ‘read’ what the artist is trying to say to me. Much like Impressionism in itself, I appreciate art for that first impression and glimpse of beauty.
My love for the Arts has never ceased. I took an Introduction to Art History class in Amsterdam that went all the way back to the Greek period, I’m signed up for a jewellery history class entitled “from Tutankhamen to Cartier” (how’s that for a fusion of travel and history) and I look forward to more classes in the future. This is a lifelong journey.
My point is, don’t ever take your access to the arts for granted. There are many of us, all around the world, who have never really learnt about it, nor had access to it. So appreciate what you have. Similarly, open up your minds to the art and culture of the rest of the world. Perhaps, like me, you can look forward to having your mind blown as well.