Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Great artistic inspiration via "bookies"

And by "bookies" I mean the ardent readers of my esteemed book group, Bad Girls Book Club.

Thanks to a brilliant book club selection, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, we were introduced to an exquisite little painting of the same name, The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. Painted in 1654 (seriously, that old!) it has a very contemporary feel (although, these days, we rarely see a goldfinch chained to a perch). The simplicity of the composition, light color palette and dramatic but delicate shadows give it a modern look - surely not 360+ years old!

When another curious bookie discovered that the painting was on exhibit for only one more week at The Frick Museum in NYC, we rushed to plan a field trip!

The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius 1654
I have to admit that I almost didn't go - and that would have been a huge mistake. I love The Frick, it's an elegant, grand mansion of the Gilded Age with many masterworks of art hanging in living spaces, just as they might have been when Henry Clay Frick's family was in residence. The house itself is always worth the visit - especially in this age of Downton Abbey-mania!

But the idea of contending with crowds all clamoring for a peek at this little painting was almost enough to keep me away. I mean who ARE these non-artist hoards who just happened to read a best seller that just happened to revolve around a little-known painting? Well... that would be just about everyone. Including me. Because even though, as an "artist," I like to think I know a little something about the art world... there is always so much more to learn!

Jan Vermeer's celebrated Girl with the Pearl Earring was also on exhibit, so that was a treat too, but for my money The Goldfinch was the star of the show. I'm thrilled to have been up close to this sweet painting. Fortunately, the book is fabulous as well: an interesting story and cast of characters to be sure, but the prose itself is just delicious! All 700+ pages of it. As wonderful as words can be, nothing beats seeing original art in person.

Masterpieces abound, god bless 'em. And you know what? Every novel or movie that celebrates art is a reminder that beauty and poetry and music thoroughly enrich our lives. If it takes a contemporary best-seller to draw attention to a 17th century masterpiece, that's just fine with me.

So a great book lead us to a fabulous painting. How wonderful is that! You know that reading is good for the soul - art books are doubly enriching. More books about art and and artists are available via this Amazon link. Go be inspired!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you!