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Seeing More than What’s There

August 3, 2010

Back in 2000, I was taking art history classes, and I wrote the following passage on my blog:

As I sat in class, looking at the modern paintings, I kept thinking about how unappealing they were to me. I’ve always been a fan of Renaissance paintings. I love studying them and finding out about the history and the time period and why the painter thought to put that specific image. The paintings of that period are all about symbolism and if you have studied some art history, you can know the story behind each symbol. To me, that’s like sharing a secret between the painter and you. Even though, I know that everyone of that period knew the specific symbols, people who don’t study art history don’t know them and can’t look for the specific clues, like the image of Michelangelo’s face on the dead skin in The Last Judgement. To me, that’s like having a sneak peak into the painter’s mind. When I look at the modern paintings, I just don’t see that. I’m not saying that one has to, I’m just saying that I like to.

Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate many other periods but my appreciation for knowing the background, the story behind the story of the painting has never dwindled. I love that there are so many layers to each piece of art. The subject, the artist’s intent, effects of the period in which it’s created, the story behind the story. This makes art so fascinating to me and it makes me appreciate each piece that much more.

I am so grateful for artists. The path to becoming an artist is not an easy one. More often than not, it’s under-appreciated, underpaid, and full of rejection. Yet, every day, there are people who choose to walk down it. People who cannot imagine any other life. They are the reason why our life is full of color and I am so thankful for their bravery to stay true to their heart.

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