fun day at the art museum

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.



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7 responses to “fun day at the art museum

  1. That’s cool that you were able to learn a lesson through art! I still haven’t made it to the new museum. I really need to since I drive by it almost every day haha. PS: Congrats on the official announcement yesterday! We are all proud of ya.

  2. thatgirlkate

    no, it is boring and nerdy that I learned a lesson through art. but, hey, what can ya do?

  3. shelleyjones

    That’s a great lesson! Not boring and definitely not nerdy. Seek that which has gone before you; shunning the counsel of the wise is the business of fools. I do believe Proverbs talks about that…

  4. kate g

    Wow, Shelley, amazing quote. You just added a whole new dimension to respecting those who have gone before us, the ones who suffered, learned and now can be called “the masters.” I see my parents this way, I need to learn not to shun their counsel, but seek it out and embrace it. man, thats hard.

  5. You are all wiser than I was at your age. About those old masters, I doubt any of them looked at their own paintings without seeing all the flaws, thought how unworthy of being copied they were and would have been glad for new versions, even delighted with the later development of what became unique. They certainly had to be humbled that the core of what they did was so honored. It’s all anyone can hope for. Did I tell you how proud I was of you yesterday?

  6. I love listening to my elders! Our parents have taught us so much on love and marriage. It really pays to learn from THEIR mistakes.

  7. OH yes!!! Congratulations!!! I am so freakin proud of you.

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