Paris and The Moulin Rouge

I met up with a friend at the National Gallery in Canberra yesterday to visit the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition Paris and The Moulin Rouge. It was my first visit to the gallery and a first gallery experience for my daughter. What a fabulous day out. The exhibition was stunning and so inspiring. It made me want to take up life drawing again.

I did not realise just how much Jade took in until we returned home and she started telling her Dad what she saw. She was mimicking the pose of one particular piece that she liked and asked me to find it in the catalogue I bought, so that she could show him. She was so excited by it and asked me to put it on her wall. So, I cut it out and she instructed me on where to place it in her room! All this from a 'not yet' two-and-a-half year old! She marvels at it and calls her "Mademoiselle" which she pronounces very well too!  What a wonderful first experience . 


K said…
It's interesting to me how standing in the same room with a work done by an artist whose work you were already "familiar" with proves that you weren't so familiar after all. When I was fourteen, my father gave me a trip to Paris. During that magical week, I walked into the Louvre (this was before the glass pyramid). In the Lobby were several gigantic (well - six foot wide) still lifes, by whom, I do not know. I stood close to one, very close, almost docent-yelling-at-me close, and on one leaf, I saw a drop of water. My right hand immediately rose to wipe off the droplet. Before I could do such a thing, my brain kicked in, explaining patiently to the non-art part of me that this was only PAINT, and I mustn't touch. So my hand went back down. Five seconds later, as I looked - two inches away - at that droplet, my hand did the same thing, and I gave myself the same lecture.

I'd seen a million pictures, and a few paintings in my time, but even a foyer-level Louvre artist had completely fooled my brain, simply in technique - I was fairly stunned. Of course, this veri-similitude is only one tiny bit of the magic you artists wield. More often, it is the soul you relentlessly reproduce. Or joy.

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