Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Art (01/18/07)
TITLE: The Eye of the Beholder (i)
By Annette Agnello
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When in college I bought beautiful prints but they were usually of paintings I had fallen in love with when they were illustrations in textbooks. Escher was in a math book, both El Greco and Salvador Dali were in Spanish books. When I was in college I had a Dali print that started a fight with my roommate. She had a definite opinion on surrealist paintings, and a few choice unrepeatable things to say about the “melting clocks” otherwise known as “The Persistence of Memory”. I still love the painting, twenty years later she still probably hates it. It is a matter of taste.
As a child, I had an uncle who collected paintings of famous artists. His house was full of beautiful paintings, hanging on the walls, propped against the walls of the basement like posters are propped in art stores. Hundreds of them, Uncle Les saw them as an investment, but when he died suddenly his family could only sell them for but a fraction of their worth.
When the Mona Lisa was on loan to the National Art Museum in Washington D C, people who wanted see the painting were headed past her with only a couple of seconds of a clear view of her after waiting in line for over a half hour. It was not nearly as good a view as you could get anywhere else almost any art book has a painting of her. Yes, she is art, Great art but is she the most beautiful woman or just one of many. What gives that painting so much value that people would cue up in long lines to see her. You could see hundreds of other paintings without standing in lines. In that same museum I saw “Whishtler’s Mother”, Dali’s “Last Supper”, beautiful women painted by Botticelli and many other things with artists both realistic and abstract.
Tom Stoppard said, "Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art."
Dali certainly had enough imagination he painted the crucifixion without having Jesus actually on the cross but floating in front of it. On first seeing the painting I assumed the woman at the foot of the cross was Mary the mother of God, I found out later that she was the artist’s girlfriend who appeared in a lot of his paintings. That’s art.
In many ways they were beautiful works of art such as an ice sculpture of the rabbit from, “Alice in Wonderland”, complete with the waistcoat and pocket watch. Was beautiful but was only there for a brief time. Did that make him any less art? Is the child’s drawing less art? To me a huge bunny taller than I was art. It took a lot of skill to carve him from a big ice cube. I could never of created such a thing to me he was a work of art. To the mother the child’s drawing was art. To me Dali’s “melting clocks” was art, but not to my roommate. I doubt the child’s drawing would be art to me. Look at what is setting before you, decide for yourself.
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