How to Receive the Spell

You have to be relaxed to feel and even only to see a beautiful thing. If you are in a hurry or have a million things on your mind you cannot receive the spell.

Since modern art has to take its clues from the media, especially from advertising, where the ideal is a single effect, everything depends on the impact it makes in the first fraction of a second. Yet a painting needs much more time to sink in. Maybe it ought to be around like a pet for some time, until you get to know each other fairly well.

There is something questionable in treating a painting as if it were a poster to fill an empty wall. That is almost cruel. A painting is more like a letter and needs to be read and – yes, even answered. Some who think that a painting is an overloaded poster look for a message and expect it to be short, similar to a slogan. They are like children who want the story-teller to skip his yarn and just tell them the ending.

However, it is not enough to observe, to be observant. You must be docile! This is required of anyone who wants to learn. You have to quiet the dog-barking, the hen-clucking of your opinions and suspend your judgment for a while.

Bow to the master; take off your hat. The chances are a thousand to one that the painter is a better observer than you are, that he has more to say on his subject than you would. And anyway his work deserves your attention because just like Kafka’s famous Emperor of China he tried to have a missive delivered to you most personally.

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This entry was posted in aesthetics, art, art history, Beauty, oil painting. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How to Receive the Spell

  1. wrjones says:

    Very well thought out and written. We can all learn from this.

  2. 100swallows says:

    There you have your next Sunday sermon. Sock it to ’em.

  3. Ion Danu says:

    A painting is more like a letter… wow! I just posted (on Danu’s SW)) a painting where you have to read, also… a kind of Sfinx inquiery or puzzle… wrjones is right: very well thought and written…

  4. I so agree with you! When I visit museums and galleries, I like to stand next to a painting or sculpture and just be there for awhile, as though I were standing quietly next to a person whom I was just getting to know.

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