Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Arts

Was sifting through some old books that Mum wants to throw and came across a Readers Digest book on artists and their art.

Back in my old company, I was once surrounded with people who talked about arts, throwing words I’ve never heard of like “nouveau”. I listened in absolute non-comprehension and the fascination of the arts simply eluded me. Now that I’m reading my cousin Karen’s blog on her postings on Paris, again, I’m left with the feeling like I’m missing out on something.

It’s about visiting art museums and gazing at the Renaissance sculptures in Europe. Sure, the sculptures are gorgeous but don’t they look the same after, oh, the 5th sculpture? I’ve been to a couple of art galleries but CANNOT, for the life of me, understand it. I discovered that I like paintings that look so close to the original subject, they might as well be photographs.

People flock to the museums and get inspired. Some can sit there just looking at one painting for hours. I just don’t get it. It’s like being blind and trying to imagine what red is and how it invokes the soul.

Is it because Arts is not a emphasized subject in school? I now find myself trying to read the art book I unearthed for the sake of getting a glimpse of this world. My intention to read this is after I go through the other books I found on underwater creatures, amazing facts of the world, Chinese stories, Arabian stories…

Hence, Europe has never really been a great place to visit for me because I know I’ll not appreciate a major part of it.


ron said...

I think many people make the wrong assumptions about art that you have to know all these terms and meanings - don't forget these were created by scholars etc to have a better understanding of a movement in art and what it represents. Also I think if you studied music, you might have come across some of these terms already and their characteristics such as Baroque art and the emphasis on the florid, Classical on firm line and structure, Impressionism and so forth. After all, I never fully got to appreciate it but once I saw them, some I understood immediately and others left me baffled but thats art for you. It doesn't take a genius to understand Michelangelo's David for example (he carved a few but the most famous remains in the Accademia) and to appreciate what tools he had at that time (no machines etc!) and of course I have a feeling dear Michelangelo was obsessed with "David" being the perfect male :) How else could he have carved his subject so passionately with the most perfect male body ever? One of the most beautiful things I've ever seen is Monet's Water Lilies canvasses at the newly refurbished L'Orangerie in Paris. I thought like everyone else, these were so cliched etc as I'd seen them in crappy prints and ppl hang these prints all over. But coming to it up front was an experienced. I was so moved and speechless that I stared at them for at least 20 mins each (I also bought some crappy prints to take home ha!). Another painter I like is Van Gogh - he was so quirky and "raw" that it makes it quite unlike anyone else. I think real beauty can be appreciated and you might surprise yourself. The thing is nowadays ppl try to cram everything in one go and thats wrong (I suppose organised tours have a lot to blame). I had to spend two days at the Louvre and even that was not enough to see everything!

Kelvin said...

Jo, I think I'm a bit like you. When Irene talks about paintings, my eyes just start to glace over as boredom just starts to set in. I don't think it's because I don't enjoy art; just not that particular form of art. After all, there are many forms of art. Photography is an art in its own kind.

Irene did take art in school because she was passionate about it. I would probably consider taking courses in photography because I'm passionate about it.

Europe is fascinating even for those of us who are non-art lovers. There is so much history, amazing food and amazing photography opportunities :)

That's just my 2 cents worth :)