my new favorite thing
If you have read other bits and pieces on my blog you no doubt know about my love of art (I was going to say obsession but that really only applies to Vermeer and the Pre-Raphaelites). Here are three previous posts if you want to recap or catch up (1, 2 and 3).I made a discovery on Monday that has made me happy, even amidst all the wintry weather. Yes I know that it is not only for me but I would like to think that the folks at Google took pity on my current lack of world travel options and decided to bring me more paintings.
It is the GoogleArtProject. If you’ve already heard of it then you can probably guess at my incredible enthusiasm but if you don’t know about it yet, get ready to drift down the museum rabbit hole.
Here’s a little video intro from the GAP people (I love it so much I am making up my own abbreviation).
Seriously, this is so cool I can barely contain myself. Not only does it let me intricately travel the halls of some of the most amazing museums in the world but I can study the paintings up close without getting yelled at by a guard. And yes, I have OFTEN been scolded by a guard for standing too close. I always have my hands behind my back but I guess they aren’t charmed by my love of the work and yell at me to get back. Mike actually told a guard at the National Gallery of Art that I was a trouble-maker. Can you imagine being in Museum jail? I was pretty damn excited so I don’t blame him for being suspicious.
I warn you, this site is addictive. And before you ask- YES there are Vermeers.
The Glass of Wine (I had forgotten about this one!)
View of Houses in Delfi (known as The Little Streets)
Officer and Laughing Girl (I’ve seen this one live!)
Now the question is (along with wondering if this site/project will make it easier for Art Thieves to case museums and plan heists) will I allow the viewing of these paintings in such an indepth way count on my “seen it” list of Vermeers? I think not. Not only because I want to travel but because there is something about standing in front of a great work. Something breath-taking about seeing the actually brush strokes (now you see where the guard’s scolding comes in). The idea that this thing of great beauty or striking intrigue or shocking truth was created by a human hand, by a person simply sitting in a room somewhere doing what they love. And it has survived, in spite of time and environment, so that I can bear witness.
Doesn’t it make you want to paint? To leave something behind that shows the way you saw the world, or wanted the world to be. I guess theatre can do that through archival images or articles and through family stories. And film remains, although it’s rare that work retains a true universality. I supposed this echoes back to why I do what I do, why I am often awake in the middle of the night with a pounding in my chest to make great work. I want to leave something behind, an indentation in the world that is all my own.
When I see a painting (even as pixels on a computer screen) Iam usually moved and engaged in a way that defies explanation. Even if I don’t “get” it or even if I hate it, I respect it. I see its value in the world and feel grateful for its existence. I guess I want to contribute in that way. For better or worse, to shift perception and rattle some molecules.
And what might be my favorite painting in the world is also included. It is Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Beata Beatrix.
See? Words fail me.
So enjoy GAP. And please let me know if you stumble across some favorites. You can even make your own art gallery of all your picks and share it (with me!). I have a lot of learning to do and many museums to explore. That should definitely keep me happy until Spring.
Love and other brush strokes,