Art to Take Your Breath Away

Have you ever had your breath literally taken away by something beautiful or profound?
I have had that experience. The first time this actually happened to me. I had begun my University training in Fine Art, and although I had a love for Art and artists, being from a small town I had never really been to a gallery of substance before. I was in the middle of an Art History class and went for a visit to the Mendel Art Gallery. I remember walking up to an Arthur Lismer painting and gasping. There is was – the actual painting I had just been reading about in my Art History text.
Probably the most profound experience I ever had was many years later when I visited the National Gallery in Ottawa. I had been exposed to a fair bit of Art by that time, but for whatever reason, during my first visit there I turned . . . and then I saw IT from across the room. ‘It’ was a cubist painting by Braque and it literally took my breath away. My heart started to race and I felt flushed; my chest constricted like I might not be able to suck in the next breath. I walked trance like to the painting and just stood there.
I’m sure that many of you find this extremely ‘nerdy’. I know, I think so myself, but I can’t help it! These are not isolated instances. either. Shall I tell you about the time I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York? It was ‘The Bathers’ by Georges Seurat that did it to me that time.  Or what about going to an art gallery in San Diego? Here is a direct quote from my journal:
“I am struck by the almost uncontainable thrill I feel when visiting such a place. Stomach butterflies; warmth and tightness in the chest; forcing myself to breathe in shallow gusts; a feeling like I want to burst into tears. This is a silent exuberance; an oxymoron of emotion brought on by passion. Unlike the excitement of a football game or the joy at seeing a loved one after a long separation, this is different. This is AWE.”
I’ve often said that I am passionate about the creative process in general. I derive a huge amount of satisfaction from all my creative endeavours, especially my writing. But my love for Art is still a place of near reverence. It is the thing that I love simply because I love it. I do not need to strive, or change, or work harder. I simply come and allow myself to be inspired. Next to my relationship with God, and my love for my family, my love for Art is probably the deepest love of all.
 *I found this in the archives of my old blog “Expression Express” (which is sadly, no more…) Even though I am primarily a writer, my love for the visual arts came first, which is why I probably find such pleasure in viewing art of all types. 

5 Comments

  1. Braque. I will have to write that down and look for it- hopefully it’s not resting in a vault at present. I’m going over to the National Gallery today for a stroll about the permanent galleries, to be added to my photoblog in April.

    I get that way when I look up at Alex Janvier’s mural Morning Star, which resides on a ceiling dome in the Museum of History here at Gatineau. It’s an abstract work, which usually I don’t go for, but this one I love. The Gallery is in the final weeks of a major retrospective of his work, and I want to see it again.

    • I found both of his paintings near each other during my visit. Quite striking!

      • Hooray! I haven’t been to Ottawa in a number of years, but I hope ot visit again someday and of course, go to the Gallery.

        • A docent was in an adjoining gallery, and we chatted. We actually started talking about the Klimt painting that’s there. The Gallery has docents here or there in various spaces on a regular basis to chat with people about specific works, and she led me over to the two Braque paintings. The one is quite cubist in its look, while his other work is more conventional.

  2. Oh a Klimt! I did not see it. I definitely need to visit again.

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