Aside from the halls of Roman sculptures and Egyptian papyrus script, the galleries of Renaissance, Impressionist, and Abstract Art have always been my favorite. And, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, after seeing the advertisement outside the Metropolitian Museum of Art for “Van Gogh: Irises and Roses,” a quick visit to view one collection turned into hours of wandering through centuries of art.
If you’ve never been to a museum just to watch the reactions of the visitors, go. While the art is of course captivating, so are the audiences wandering through the galleries. From tourists to curators, everyone has a different opinion as to what “good art” is inside a museum, whether they have a conscious appreciation for it outside of one, or not. Walking past an abstract piece I was infatuated with, I heard a couple arguing as to whether the work was brilliant or ridiculous. I couldn’t help but smile as the two battled it out, with only the polarized definitions a suitable fit. And whether it be the historical significance, hues or subject, everyone else I passed through the museum had a different appreciation for “good art” as well.
Besides the natural favorites, Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses and Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), so many other works captured my attention just as powerfully. Sunflowers by Joan Mitchell was one of these pieces. Falling in love with the colors, and patterns that the swirls of paint danced across the canvas, the piece quickly became my phone background. And although I adored it, a friend seemed puzzled when I showed them my new screen saver enthusiastically.
But that’s art. And the power of subjectivity.
To me, there is something that viewing art in person conveys aesthetically that is lost in translation. As copies of originals are plastered onto keychains and mugs and postcards, the brushstrokes and personality of the work slowly dulls. And, while of course the idea of sail boats on the Siene or water lilies in a French garden still hold, the details are gone.
So, go see art (in person). Go see people, seeing art. And enjoy a few of my favorites from the Met in the gallery below.