Eight years ago, my best friend since childhood passed away. She was like a sister to me. I think of her often but especially every year on the anniversary I try to remember her humor, her charm, and some of the many lessons she imparted in a manner someone only six months older (and wiser) can do. Her attitude toward life is to be emulated to say the least. I used to help her sneak out of the hospital sometimes and lucky for us there was always the requisite junk food joint and something ‘cultural’ to counter it nearby. On one particular instance, we ended up at a Taco Bell and then an art museum. Years later that day has come to mind as I try to figure things out in life.
No doubt everyone has seen this painting before. Water Lilies by Monet is actually a series of 250 paintings, housed in museums all over the world. I always think it’s odd he suffered from cataracts when painting these, the focus of his later work. I’m sure you have seen at least some in the series, but have you really taken a look?
Next time you get a chance to go to the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, or any of the other many wonderful places the series is exhibited, go ahead and lie down for a bit.
Often I’ve seen the paintings exhibited at eye level and the beauty and detail can be seen, of course. But there is more beyond the surface of the pond. If you can, lie on the floor, feet facing the painting, lean back on your forearms, and look up. There’s depth, life under the lillies, a new perspective! You may illicit some glances from the more ‘serious’ museum goers, but art is meant to be interpreted and this is certainly a perspective worth looking into.
Always be mindful of the security guards and don’t be surprised if many other patrons follow you.