Sunday, April 22, 2012

Art -- Seen and Unseen

Art could probably be called a way to express ourselves with a result that is visible.  But art can be a very strange thing.  In one story I heard, most of the art work in The Hermitage (St. Petersburg, Russia) was sent to Siberia (or some remote place) during World War II, to keep it safe from bombings.  (This, in itself, was a very noble effort in war time to save what was best in a society.)  While the art work was gone, a museum guide continued to conduct tours of The Hermitage, describing the paintings from memory -- i.e. describing paintings that were not there !  Just amazing.  . . .  In another story demonstrating the strangeness of art or artists, it is said that Salvador Dali once looked at a painting ("The Angelus"?) -- showing two people with their heads bowed in prayer -- and declared that it was very sad.  He couldn't say exactly why he felt this way.  Many years later, when x-rays could be used to examine layers of paintings, the painting was x-rayed and found to include the grave of a child between the two people on an earlier version of the painting, which had been covered by paint and not visible when Dali saw it.  Very strange.  Very intuitive.