My first lesson in Fine Art

January 10, 2015

Having never ventured into the world of fine art – modern or classic, I was tentative about the subject. What if I did not understand anything, what if I did not appreciate anything, what if I asked silly questions ….and so on.

That is why solo lessons on the internet are so easy ….the only one to whom one reveals one’s ignorance is Google-God. And he does not judge.

But here I was on a chill autumn day in Montreal, delighted to visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Art for the exhibition “Van Gogh to Kadinsky, Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900-1914”.

The reason for my delight? I had been invited by a Professor of Fine Art and his friend both prominent enthusiasts of textile art, to accompany them to museum.

Walking in step with the learned ones, I received a commentary on the overall theme of the exhibition, the various categories of paintings as well on individual paintings.

I listened. And absorbed.

The exhibition begins with displays of the art produced in the 1900s and ends with displays of the work produced around the start of WWI.  Flowing from  Impressionism to Expressionism the posters offer insights into the dynamics of those times and the factors that influenced the trends.

For years I have had one question that had remained unanswered in my ignorant head – ‘what was it that made some of these artists so famous / popular / revered, especially since today if one were to see any of these paintings in a blind test – without any background knowledge, one might not be so struck by them’.

They say ‘when a student is ready the teacher appears’.

At this museum visit I was given the answer: That at that time, the originality and power of their works is the one factor that attracted attention. And with a play of probabilities and the passage of time, these artists began to be considered as masters of art. Today, those techniques have been copied and emulated a hundred times over and so in a blind test this may seem common. But at that time these artists were pioneers. Never before had such forms of painting been seen and so they dazzled the viewers of the time.

 A few pictures from the visit showcasing works of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne and Kandinsky and others .

MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -14 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -49 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -50 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -8 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -7 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -55 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -56 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -18 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -6 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -4 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -5 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -36 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -31 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -1 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -9 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -25 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -33  MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -11 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -10  MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -17 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -58 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -38 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -23 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -12 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -40 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -29 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -24  MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -44 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -26 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -57 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -15 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -28 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -32 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -45

***

MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -53

With my hosts

By the end of the visit I realised how fortunate I was, to be receiving my first lesson in fine art, from a professor of art, with real masterpieces as examples to learn from!  Am so grateful!

***

End thoughts:

The overall state  of a people is reflected in (among other things) how its society values and engages itself in art*.

The high turnout at the museum on the weekday struck me!  I think there were more people here than at the shopping malls. What a delightful finding!

MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -2 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -3 MONTREAL MUSEUM OF FINE ART -19

It is hard not to like Montreal! It is one the coldest cities on the planet [2 days ago it was colder there than it is on Mars] yet my experience was among the warmest I have had as a tourist in a foreign city!

jm

Jan 2015

[*No doubt many other factors such as longevity of eras free from war / epidemics / natural disasters and other factors also contribute to whether or not one has time for art.]

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