Friday, June 16, 2006

Art and age together...

...for no specific reason or purpose.

Once my cousin told me that she had done an art project on “angles, perspective” and children. I thought at the time yet again something that us, non-artists, cannot comprehend! In everyday English her project can be said that it aimed at drawing objects, as a child of no more than 1,20 m tall sees them. And indeed her work was very interesting as it revealed quite angles of door knobs, tables and chairs that we, the tall people, never pay attention.

When I was 12 or 13, I don’t quite remember any more, I visited the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. As I was admiring the deeds of the ancient Greeks, I remember I noticed at one point a cat at the uppermost part of the Parthenon. Whilst the other kids that were in the group were contemplating whether the cat could make it back to the ground, my sight was still on the height of the columns and the grandeur of the ancient temple. As if I were not mesmerised and overtaken by awe already, I later found out that the Parthenon was actually colored in the ancient times, it is just that the paint has faded over the years.

Not so long ago I was in the Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerpen, Brussels, admiring the wonderful works of Rubens, Jordaens and Brueghel among other Belgian and European painters. At one point I saw a beautiful painting, and naturally I approached it in order to read the name of the artist. My attention was drawn to the fact that James Ensor, a famous Belgian expressionist/surrealist painter of the 19th century, painted that particular painting in his early 20s, as a matter of fact I think he was 21. Van Gogh, I happened to read somewhere later that day, died at the age of 37.

In their 40’s and 50’s people seem to demonstrate a unique affinity for art. People’s houses become embellished by paintings, or copies of famous works of art. People quench their thirst for art with visits to local and not-so-local museums to visit the masterpiece. It is at this age that people speak of da Vinci or Micheangelo as the fathers of art and western civilization.

Cezanne, the famous French impressionist and precursor to modernism, after a lifetime of struggle for perfection, wrote in 1906 at the age of 67 –just a month before his death– that he was barely noticing some “progress” in his artistic technique.

Not all things have to follow a scheme, a plan, a strategy or be dictated by a law, a rule or a regulation. Things coexist, at times harmoniously, at times not. Too often, we run after things, leaving little time to ourselves to enjoy or simply observe.

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