Yesterday Dustin and I joined his whole family, which is: Tammie (Mom), Bob (Dad), Fletcher (brother), Angie (borther’s girlfriend), Parker (brother) and Tess (sister). All of us together makes 8 really loud, short people in a very quiet museum. We moved around each section like a small mob, crowding each other and standing quiet awkwardly close to every painting. I noticed a few rather snobby men in khakis and sweater vests give us the “stink eye” as they walked past us.
We were there to see the Inspiring Impressionism Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, it only runs through May 25th so if you have not gone, you definitely should. I love when art becomes a history lesson, how you are looking at a painting from before the 1500’s and it has somehow lasted that long and tells such a specific story as you look at it. The idea behind “Inspiring Impressionism” is the Impressionist painters that we are so familiar with (Monet, Renoir, Degas) were taught by the early Masters. They believed that the only way to truly learn as an artist was to copy a work of the Masters. They would sit in the Lourve with their own canvass and brushes, painting the masterpieces, studying them, copying them.
This picture is an example of this:
On the Left: Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading by Mary Cassatt in 1876
On the Right: A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard in 1776
The one of the Left is the original, the one that 100 years later inspired the one on the right.
I think sometimes I am trying to hard to be original, to do things my own way. I need to remember that there are masters who have gone before me, who worked hard to figure out just the right way, and as a student I need to copy and re-copy before I, myself, can be considered an artist of my own life and decisions. It is the value of respecting those who have lived and learned and passed their understanding on to us, not resenting the example or seeing it as “the old way” but cherishing it as something valuable.
I am still so young and have so much to learn.