Art That Stirs EmotionPosted: August 5, 2010
I’ve added a new category to Purely Consumed – Art & Music. Great art is a gourmet treat for the eyes, and great music is a gourmet treat for the ears. Both can stir emotion much more than food and wine. These subjects belong in Purely Consumed.
In art, I love the Impressionists, and in music, I love everything Mozart and much other classical, but can be moved by pop and rock artists as well.
Recently I’ve been thinking of two particular pieces of art. One is The White Orchard, by Vincent Van Gogh (1888), which I stood in front of at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in June. The whole museum moved me tremendously, to the point of shaking, but this painting brought me to tears. It is relatively unknown, it doesn’t go on tour. It is an undistinguished subject. Van Gogh painted it as part of a three-painting landscape series, and his purpose was commercial – he wanted to paint something that people like, and would buy! I stood in front of this painting for a long time – kept my wife waiting. I saw the full range of Van Gogh’s emotions and talents in this work. The gnarly twisted tree trunks, the delicacy, brightness and beauty of the flowers reaching for the light, the turmoil and excitement in the sky, the ruts in the land. It is a work of profound emotion for me.
Another piece that stirs completely different feelings is The Roofs of Collioure by Henri Matisse (painted in 1905). This painting is from Matisse’s Fauvist period, when he was experimenting with pointillism, “divisionism”, and other brush techniques. What gets me is the attitude. This is the quintessential example of looking at life through rose-colored glasses, which is a good thing. Matisse made lots of very basic, even tedious things look really good. I have that choice every day.
So the view of a tortured soul (Van Gogh) and the view of perhaps an optimistic soul (Matisse) are what Purely Consumed is pondering this week.