21 March, 2014

The Monuments Men

 'Sunrise' by Roy Lichtenstein, 1965

 'La Muse' by Pablo Picasso, 1935

 'Bedroom in Arles' by Vincent van Gogh, 1888

'Luxe, Calme et Volupte' by Henri Matisse, 1904

 'Water Lilies' by Claude Monet , 1919

I saw the movie 'The Monuments Men' last night. I loved the premise of the film but suspect that the subject matter is not for everyone. The cinematography was superb--truly an aesthetic feast for those who love the beauty of scenery and light and art. The cast was fantastic, and the movie met my expectations and more. Again, we're reminded of the insidiousness of that much-maligned regime and, as always, are left wondering how it all could have gone so far. The scale of the theft perpetrated against the innocents is yet again as sickening as ever (e.g. thousands of gold fillings stored in barrels). Although the film, in my opinion, did lack pacing and a few other vital elements, I believe strongly in the purpose of the film: to uphold those who risked and lost their lives to preserve the beauty, history and cultural significance of art.

Having been to Europe myself last year, I had the opportunity to experience, in some small way, the sheer scope and scale of historical artifacts, artworks and other contributions by incredibly talented and dedicated people throughout time. The Louvre was just overwhelming in its size and magnificence. I spent all day there and actually saw quite a large proportion of the collections. My feet were so sore that I couldn't walk properly later that evening (this is not a usual occurrence for me!) I was just so compelled to see as much as I could--such is the voracity of my aesthetic eye. It's just the way I'm wired; I'm so visually attuned and can't live without the stimulation of looking at wondrous things, which is probably why staring at the same four walls as a school teacher really sucked a lot of life out of me, but I digress...

At the top of this post, I have shared a handful of the artworks I saw in Europe (where flash-free photography was permitted). I saw many great works by 'the masters' but happened to snap more of the modern works. The pics don't do the artworks justice but will always trigger within me the memory of having experienced them in the flesh :)

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