Growing up, art has never been my thing. I thought of it as extraneous to the important things in life, like business and science. As I have gotten older, I have developed a much greater appreciation for, and even a recognition of, the importance of art in life. Maybe this came with more exposure to art. But, even with this, I didn’t understand art, at least I didn’t understand what made something art and I didn’t love art, until Van Gogh.
In more recent years, I have been very fortunate to be able to visit some of the most famous art museums in the world (The Louver, Musee du Orsay, Vatican Museum, Van Gogh Museum, and Hermitage Museum). These opportunities have greatly increased my understanding and appreciation for art. Hey, maybe this is why we have art museums – to help everyone have a great appreciation for art (this is said with sarcasm because I am sure everyone knows this).
The biggest breakthrough for me came on my most recent international trip, which was to Amsterdam and St. Petersburg. The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam took me to a whole new place in art. I think the brilliance of the Van Gogh works certainly helped, but what was really special was the way the museum presented art to the visitor. Since the museum is focused on a specific artist, it can take you through the life of the artist. You can see the different stages of his life, his works in each stage, the artists that influenced him and their works, and the challenges he faced. I don’t know why this worked for me, maybe it made things more real, but it did. It was kind of an art appreciation transformation.
So, now I’m a believer, or shall I say a lover? Previously, I only loved photographs, and some sculptures (my favorite is Michelangelo by the way). Now I can add paintings to the list – my favorite is Starry Night, although I didn’t get to see the actual painting at the Van Gogh museum. I still have a long way to go, but at least I am making progress and the world that is opening up to me is a particularly beautiful one. I even told my wife that if we needed another piece or artwork on our walls, I wanted it to be a Van Gogh. So, thank you Van Gogh. I wish you could have lived long longer to see how many fans you have and how many of us love you work.
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