museums, art, and culture, oh my...

today my brain is pounding out of my skull, so i am going to make this real short, down a coke and 4 ibuprofen and go to bed early. i have been fighting this darn ache for a week. i must rid myself of it soon.

i love museums. i love art. i love culture. it is one of the things i miss most about europe. in the 6 months i was there i lived culture everyday. i experienced art. and we traveled to museums and experienced art like some never have the chance to do.

we went to the louvre. generally i hated my experience at the louvre. it was crowded, and there were loud americans yelling at each other, at the workers, crying, making a scene. it was one of the few times during my time there i was embarrassed to be an american. (remind me to tell you what song they played as lance armstrong took his victory lap after winning the tour de france. that is a story you really must hear in another time, and another place) we also had a hard time following the louvre maps to see what we wanted to see. we got lost, i will admit it. we couldn't wait to get out of there, but first, first... we had to see the mona lisa. the crowd around the mona lisa was outrageous. there are a million security guards, and a millions pictures asking you not to take pictures, and to be quiet. it didn't stop people from snapping pictures, or screaming hollering, and making an embarrassment of america. but... i saw it...

i saw the mona lisa... and i cried.
Mona Lisa (Gioconda)
Leonardo Da Vinci

we spent time in several other museums across the land, and i loved them all. castles i got sick of. after about 3 i could go with never seeing another one in my lifetime. but museums... never. i would meander through room after room, breathing deeply, walking gingerly, soaking in the feeling, the mood, the culture in every room. my fellow teammates would speed along, they were done long before i was. i left them waiting, sitting in artsy fartsy uncomfortable chairs everywhere we went. sorry guys. kind of. i studied every brush stroke, every fingerprint. occasionally i would get my little face so close to the art studying its every movement, an alarm would go off, and i would quickly back away as the security guard rushed in, flashlight out, ready to pounce. but still i was in my own personal utopia. i loved every step.

in remembrance of that time, here are some of my favorite pieces of art.
Almond Branches in Bloom, San Remy, c.1890
Vincent van Gogh

"The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it's dead for you."
Oscar Wilde
The Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze, c.1909
Gustav Klimt

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
Thomas Merton
The Harvest
Robert Zund

"Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."
George Bernard Shaw
Blue Nude, c.1902
Pablo Picasso

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
Pablo Picasso

Field of Poppies, c.1886 Art Print
Field of Poppies, c. 1886
Cluade Monet

"I shut my eyes in order to see."
Paul Gauquin
Jeus Washing Peter's Feet
Madox Brown

"Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one."
Stella Adler
La Mariee
Marc Chagall

"Will God or someone else give me the strength to breathe the breath of prayer and mourning into my paintings, the breath of prayer for redemption and resurrection?"
Marc Chagall

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Images on the sidewalk speak of dreams decent
Washed away by storms to graves of cynical lament
Dirty canvases to call my own
Protest limericks carved by the old pay phone

In your picture book Im trying hard to see
Turning endless pages of this tragedy
Sculpting every move you compose a symphony
You plead to everyone, see the art in me

Broken stained-glass windows, the fragments ramble on
Tales of broken souls, an eternitys been won
As critics scorn the thoughts and works of mortal man
My eyes are drawn to you in awe once again

In your picture book Im trying hard to see
Turning endless pages of this tragedy
Sculpting every move you compose a symphony
You plead to everyone, see the art in me

Art In Me
Jars of Clay


  1. Anonymous22:49


    someday i'll tell you about our trip to st. petersburg and the art at the Hermitage. Oh. My. Word.

  2. There is something about Klimt that works on my insides. I don't understand it at all. But his work floors me.

    I don't think I could do the Pieta in person. Just a 3" picture on my monitor makes me cry, no matter how many times I see it. I can not fathom having my grown son lying dead on my lap and wondering how he could go when he was supposed to save us all. Those three days must have been so awful.

  3. I have never seen The Harvest. It is beautiful.

    I saw Field of Poppies in person. It was gorg.

    Some nut threw something at the Mona Lisa this week.
    It was okay.

    I love art.

  4. I saw Pieta in person! I couldn't believe I was actually seeing was amazing.

  5. I identify with you so much on this! I am also the one nearly setting off alarms and making the guards nervous because I am too close. I just can't get enough of the brush strokes and the fingerprints. And I am always the one in the group lagging behind. The pieces you featured are beautiful.

  6. mamageph,

    me too. i don't know what it is.

  7. lisa,

    thanks for coming by, fellow art lover.

  8. Sarah Anne16:17

    Were you surprised by how small the Mona Lisa was? I was ...

  9. sarah,

    i was surprised... it is much smaller than i imagined, and they don't let you get close enough to study really study it.


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