“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.”
“Work lovingly done is the secret of all order and all happiness.”
“I like a painting which makes me want to stroll in it.”
What a wonderful day! Sometimes there is nothing more healing and inspiring than to get out of your own element and inhabit someone else’s space for a while. Feeling a need to do exactly this, Alex and I decided to take a trip into the city and catch a Renoir show at the lovely Frick Museum. The former home of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick, it is a gorgeous mansion filled with wonderful paintings and artwork — well worth a visit.
We wandered through the sumptuous sitting rooms, the lovely library, and galleries until we came to a room filled with Renoirs. What a joy to see these beautiful paintings in such an intimate setting! They were huge, vibrant, and glowed with life and color. Both Alex and I had a favorite: “Dance at Bougival.” The pinks, blues, and greens seemed to float off the canvas, just as the young couple captured in the painting seemed to be dancing on air. The joy and spontaneity of the painting seemed to leap out of the canvas.
Just recalling it now makes me understand something Renoir said: “The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion.” When I looked at this painting, that’s exactly how I felt: as if the painting had wrapped me up and carried me away. I felt transported to a lovely, simple moment in time: when two people dancing in an open-air café created an entire world in and of themselves. What a delicious feeling!
Isn’t this exactly what we want to do with our readers through our writing: to seize them, wrap them up in the worlds we create, and carry them away? What is more enthralling than to be transported by a work of art, whether it’s Wuthering Heights or “Oklahoma!” or “Dance at Bougival?”
Another thought from our boy Pierre-Auguste worth pondering: “One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.” Isn’t that what writing dangerously is all about? Write on.