It has been said that art is the most potent form of emotional communication. Well, it is.
The purpose of artistic expression is to create an intense experience (for both artist and beholder) that indulges the senses.
Centuries before modern neuro-science came into our consciousness, painters’ works had been capturing beholders’ emotion—resulting in poetry, song and dance. These ancient works of art profoundly affect us even today, just as the newer ones do. They transport us to our imagined places somewhere out there.
That’s what happens to me when I see a piece of artwork, especially an original one that was caressed and touched by the artist’s brushes and hands, at close range.
When #2 son treated Tony and me to the San Diego Museum of Art, I gasped when I saw two of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, one of which (in magazines or the Net) has always blown me away. And now it was right in front of me.
I gawked at it for uncounted minutes; were it not for the strict museum do-not-touch rule, I would have traced her shapes and lines with my fingers.
For the classics, I have always been taken with Juan de Pareja’s paintings of Jesus. This one was unsigned but art critics attribute it to him. A host of angels serve a visibly exhausted Jesus after fasting for 40 days/40 nights, then led to the wilderness where the devil tried, but failed, to tempt Him. Pareja’s interpretation gave me goose bumps.
One of El Greco’s was there, too.
We could only spend two hours there as we still had a long drive to go. The emotions in my reservoir were far from depleted, so I reserved them for future art exhibits.
Master painters are blessed with senses keener than normal beings. But I think beholders who appreciate their works are also gifted with the same. These make the emotional communication complete: a sender, a receiver, and a feedback, such as this post.
In this emotional communication, we acknowledge the grace of mirth we all feel when beholding the depth and breadth of art, drawn from God’s creation.
“Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (ESV)