Thursday, October 22, 2015

A walk through a timeless garden

A trend of mine the past few months has been measuring years by people I have known along the way. Most of us meet a few memorable ones. When there are people you would love to meet and to speak with, but you cannot because they came to this earth and left it long before your own time, the best alternative for knowing them seems to be reading what they wrote or, in this instance, examining what they painted. I have had just such an opportunity. This painting, entitled, "Liberty Leading the People," is an oil on canvas completed in 1830 by Ferdinand Victor Eugene Delacroix. It is housed in the Louvre-Lens in northern France, but thirty other of Delacroix's works, along with forty-five paintings by other artists who ushered in Modernism, are now on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia .... Read on below, if you wish to know more. To accompany the illustration and the words is a video I have used three or four or five times in the past. What better than my favorite band -- the old, original, genuine Boston -- performing, "A Man I'll Never Be," and my favorite Impressionist -- Claude Monet -- one among the artists who are part of this show and whose work also is present in Mia's permanent collection. I feel compelled to mention an inexplicable, continuing thread which began with my posts about Sylvia Plath and moved along through Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and now appears again through Brad Delp, the Boston vocalist. Like the others, he killed himself. He was age fifty-five at the time of his death.

In case you are passing by ....

I will make this sort of short and sweet.

About fifteen miles from my current residency, a half-hour in time for driving and parking and walking to an entry, is a building in which I found a dream-like existence for a few hours a few days ago.

I say another existence because how often does one walk among paintings which are the works of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas and, perhaps a bit lesser known, Eugene Delacroix?

The building is known as the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), and it currently is featuring an exhibition entitled, "Delacroix's Influence: The Rise of Modern Art from Cezanne to Van Gogh." The show features thirty of Delacroix's pieces and forty-five works from the artists just mentioned, as well as others.

To be honest, I could only name a single painting by Delacroix -- "Liberty Leading the People" .... the one used as illustration with this post -- before I heard of and went to this exhibition. Now, much more of his work will be burned into my psyche.

Words like archaic and obsolete might be used to describe my tastes/preferences in art, so I will not attempt to critique this show or wear the guise of a reviewer beyond saying that it was like passing along portals entering my concept of heaven. This group is at the edge of where I begin to look for the off ramp in respect to many schools of painting and, not being the politically correct type, I will not pretend to like something I do not. Most of this stuff, however, I absolutely love.

The show continues through January 10, 2016, so, as the pitch goes, if you happen to be in town, consider seeing it. Unless you are a tree stump, you will become intoxicated by the atmosphere itself and lose yourself in the majesty of the art which surrounds you.

This post also is a reminder that I do not live in the hinterlands; it is only that I often wish I did and, possibly, will again -- to walk in woodlands and to canoe and to swim in clear water beneath a blue sky with endlessly drifting clouds. Only that can surpass a walk among the paintings from the brush of Delacroix and that of his contemporaries and successors.

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