Happy Humpday! It’s the middle of the week, and I figure we could all use some light and breezy conversation. So I’m sharing my story – as best I can remember it – of my earliest art memories.
So, once upon a time, information wasn’t abundant and instantly at our fingertips. Way back before the Internet, there was the Encyclopedia. These massive tomes covered a ton of topics and every household that could afford them had a set. We had three sets, because as the information became outdated (these were print materials, after all), we had to occasionally replace them. One set that we had – the largest version – had spectacular photos. In this collection, I first became introduced to the fine arts.
Now, I was surrounded by art all of the time. My mom had a creative streak and my brother and I both sketched. But it wasn’t until I saw a painting in the encyclopedia that I knew that there was something very special about art. It impressed me so much that I remembered the name of the artist and the painting, more than 20 years after I first laid eyes on it.
Portrait of Comtesse d’Haussonville by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres took up nearly a whole page of the encyclopedia volume that I was perusing as a child. The countess appears to be looking directly at you, sizing you up but not in a disapproving way. She seems to be peering at you to figure out if she can share a confidence or two with you, or if she should refrain from chatting too much. She seemed so real, though I knew she was a painting of someone that died long before anyone that I knew had even been born.
Her strikingly elegant and self-possessed expression stuck with me all of these years. I guess you could say that this was the first time that art impacted me in a conscious way (though it was my encounter with a Gerome painting that first stirred any sort of strong emotion in me). It’s funny: after all this time, I’m still wondering if the Comtesse approves of me. Art has a peculiar way of making you think for years after the first encounter. Great art is memorable in the way that most of us strive to be in our daily lives.
That’s it for now. I hope you all enjoyed this post, and I hope that this Wednesday is fun and energizing for you all. Take care!