« Les chefs-d'oeuvre ne sont jamais que des tentatives heureuses₁«
“Art, for art’s sake, is an empty phrase.
Art, for the sake of the truth,
For the sake of the good and the beautiful,
That is the faith I am searching for.”
I was supposed to be back with a column a couple of weeks ago, but then a few things happened. I had started writing my piece about Halloween and Nicky Boehme’s Halloween art when I remembered I mentioned in my last column that I would tackle Orwell’s “1984” and talk a bit about Suzanne Valadon, a French artist born on September 23, 1865 in
Bessines-sur-Gartempe, France, whose subjects included mostly female nudes, female portraits, still lifes, and landscapes.
Mostly self-taught, Valadon never attended the academy. Rumor has it that she was in a short-lived affair with Eric Satie (whom we will discuss at a later time too). It may be interesting to know that she is the mother of Maurice Utrillo, a famous painter too, mostly known for his cityscapes. More about these folks at a later time. 😊
Anyway, Let it be known that I never finished the piece I was writing because my computer drive decided to crash (first time ever since I’ve owned computers 😉), and it took a week to fix. It turns out I found out how hard life is without a working PC. Yes, I have a tablet. And yes, I have a phone … but neither could replace my laptop. I shelved the column, for now (I intend to talk about Orwell and Valadon in my next one) and figured that with Thanksgiving around the corner, a bit of “thankfulmindness “ (please do not look up the word as I seriously just made it up 😉) would not be misplaced. And as it stands, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a home (one I whine about quite often), a loving husband/partner, great kids, a website that is starting to stake down its roots, and a great bunch of followers, the support I receive from friends and family allowing me to dedicate myself 100 percent to something completely and utterly new are things I do not just take for granted. They are well appreciated and cherished. More than I can say!
Okay, enough of this mushiness and back to the topic of the day: The Louvre marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo DaVinci’s death with a new exhibit. It is no secret that Leonardo’s life, art, persona utterly and completely fascinate me and the fact that the Louvre is putting up a new exhibit attempting to show us a better picture of who this extraordinary man truly was is beyond exciting.
Most of us know Leonardo DaVinci as the painter of “La Gioconda,” and while the Mona Lisa is certainly a good painting – produced with great artistry … it certainly does not reach the top of my favorite paintings’ list in the world 😉. In truth, this exhibit intends to do just that: show a Leonardo much more interesting and much more diverse than the one we think we know. That Leonardo, the brilliant, the genial Leonardo will be well represented, showing the artist’s most important, yet lesser-known, drawings and sketches.
The fact that the museum has brought together more than 160 works to mark this special anniversary makes it even more special. There is indeed more to DaVinci than the Mona Lisa. Much, much more. If you are unable to hop on a plane to Paris to visit the exhibit in person, Sebastian Smee, one of my favorite art critics and a Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic at The Washington Post and the author of "The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals and Breakthroughs in Modern Art" has written a great piece about the exhibit in the Washington Post (his present abode); Check it out. It will give you a good feeling about what this exhibit is all about.
I’d also like to draw your attention to one of Nicholas Kristoff's opinion pieces in the New York Times, specifically the one “Let’s Wage a War on Loneliness” The condition isn’t just depressing. It can be deadly. Let’s be real; these are strange times we live in. Empathy is disappearing. People are looked upon for being different. Violence is inferred and has risen everywhere. Strange and dangerous times indeed. But it doesn't need to be this way. Respect one another. Listen to one another. Be kind to one another. We, every one of us, can change the dynamic that is being thrown at us constantly. Remember these famous words: “We, the People …” We are one. We are the people. It has always been and it will always be "We the People ..." I recommend everybody read Nick Kristoff’s opinion piece and to try to make sure those around you are not alone. It’s hard enough to be lonely during the “normal” times of the year; the holidays tend to exacerbate it all. Reach out and help. Often, a little can go a long way.
In the meantime, I wish you all peace and happiness. Until next time peoples of the page. Namaste.
Citations and sites of interest:
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As always, I am thankful for your patronage.
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Como siempre, estoy agradecido por su patrocinio.