Friday, September 14, 2007

Monet and J2's Lesson on Art Appreciation

About 10 years ago Perth hosted an extensive exhibition of the works of Monet. I was just beginning to discover the world of paintings and I had rested my attention on Monet so the timing was perfect.

The exhibition was my first. I was looking after J2 who was about 3 at the time and I had allocated about 90 minutes to take everything in. Now I know better I should have arrived at 9.00 and left at closing time - giving myself the whole day to wander. Anyway, you live and learn.

I wasn't very familiar with some of the works and, having realised that I wasn't going to have time to do everything justice, we gave them only a cursory glance. What I really wanted to see were the works featuring the garden at Giverny. They weren't hard to find.

At one point I was sitting on one of the benches, drinking in two waterlilly paintings, tears welling in my eyes at the beauty, the power, the life, the ....

The paintings were similar to the ones here - one in sunshine, one at sunset. Monet's use of color in capturing the different light was incredible.

Just as I was contemplating a lifetime quest of art appreciation, the adorable J2 looked at the sunset painting, turned her head and laughed "It looks like it is on fire".

That is the essence of art appreciation for me. There is obvious merit in technique, design and the like. But ultimately, for most of us, art is how you see it - how you respond - and does it look like it is on fire.


kyles said...

smiles...I don't know art, but I know what I like :)

Gale said...

My mother in law took me to a Monet exibition mid 80's. She was an artist and used to take me to openings of little galleries in Sydney.
but with Monet I was awestruck. A small thing like his signature or date blew me away. Here were things as old as our country. i remember paintings as high as my shoulder, as tiny as a milk carton..and blues, so many different blues...
I still have the book from then. I will see if i can dig it out for you..