Bal du moulin de la Galette
Today, I attended a baby shower party for my friend's third baby. Outdoors, safely and stylishly, beautiful women shared congratulatory messages with each other. Although we are going through a difficult time due to the pandemic, everyone is happy when we think of a baby who is about to be born in the world with new hope. I also joined with a joyful heart waiting for the birth of a new baby.
A baby shower (English: baby shower) is an event to celebrate an imminent pregnant woman or a newborn baby. It is becoming increasingly common in Canada, the United States, and other countries. It is mainly hosted by pregnant women's best friends between 8 and 9 months of pregnancy. The meaning of shower here also means that friendship is pouring down like a shower. Historically, there is a theory that it was started by Franz Schauer, a German silversmith. He came to America in the 18th century.
After all, the best friend is hosting a party for her pregnant friend. 8-9 months pregnant women can know the gender of the baby to some extent, and they are in a relatively stable stage and have to endure a boring time before giving birth. Mainly women gather to chat, play games, and have photo time. I attended a first-time baby shower party after 8 years of immigrating to the United States. In Korea, there is no particular party for pregnant women that are traditionally passed down. When the Korean baby turns 1 year old, I remember having a memorable and grand party called a first birthday party. In that sense, a party designed for pregnant women is a fresh and good idea for women personally. The baby shower party I attended today was perfect and professional, from the table setting to the decor. Watching this party reminds me of Renoir's paintings I saw a lot as a child.
When I was a child, I could see Renoir paintings in calendars and textbooks frequently. In particular, Renoir's painting, Moulin de la Galette Ball, was so often seen that it was imagined with my eyes closed. Impressionist painters are loved by people worldwide, but Renoir is perhaps the most popular among them. Renoir's paintings make you feel bright, cheerful, and happy. The people who appear in his paintings are all stylish, beautiful, and relaxed. And always smiling. The sunlight shining on beautiful people who are nicely dressed and smiling is so warm. Looking at his paintings, the sadness, pain, and difficulties in the world feel foreign, as if they were only for a limited class. The background of the work is the ballroom of the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre, Paris. Parisians would dress up in fancy clothes on Sunday afternoons to spend time dancing and chatting. When I was a child, I spent a lot of time looking at this painting and imagining and looking into each character in the picture.
Especially when I'm lonely and my heart hurts, looking at this picture makes me happy. The mother and daughter in the image seem to talk to me with their friendly eyes. Just by looking at these bright and straightforward people, I think we can have the same energy. In life, you will meet someone who gives you such radiant energy. Just standing next to them makes you happy. Whenever I see such people, I think of them as Renoir's picturesque people. After attending Renoir's one-of-a-kind dramatic baby shower party, I feel the happy energy they conveyed. We hope that they and their newborn baby will grow up healthy and comfortable in this happy energy.
Holy family, 1631, Jacques Blanchard, Karlsruhe. Staatliche Kunsthalle.
When I lived in Germany, the place I lived in, Karlsruhe, was a small city with a population of about 300,000. Still, in the town center, there is well-equipped cultural infrastructure such as museums, art galleries, zoos, opera houses, and universities, so anyone who wants to can walk from the city within 30 minutes for enjoying civilized life. I lived a cultural life to my heart's content in a place located on the street. Even thinking about it now, I think I was really fortunate.
Kunsthalle was my favorite cultural facility, and it was an art museum run by the city. Every Thursday in Karlsruhe is Culture Day, where admission to all cultural facilities in the city is free, and I made good use of this day. And later, I took a sketching class run by an art museum, and that class is still helping me a lot. The teacher encouraged me a lot, and she said that she thought I was an art student at first. As an Asian, I might have looked a little younger. Then she said, "A person who knows the alphabet and can write can't go back to school to learn the alphabet again. Keep drawing. Make your own picture." I still thanked her for it.
One day, in that sketch class, I see a fascinating drawing.
It is a painting of the family of Jesus.
I was surprised that it was so different from the picture of the Jesus family that I knew.
Most of the sanctifications are holy, and Jesus in them is always calm and mature. At that age, they don't flirt or get into trouble like the average child. From a young age, something different from others is transmitted. Even a round disk, or headlight, always wraps around the head. Mary and Joseph are also gentle, beautiful, and perfect faces that transcend the world. There is no sign of tiredness in taking care of the baby, and she is perfect, literally best mom.
But the picture is described correctly in details.
It was painted in 1631, and I can feel the genius of the painter at that time.
Maria looks tired from taking care of the baby. Her hair is not well-arranged, she has no makeup, and she looks frizzy. The eyes are also slightly swollen. You probably know when you see a mother caring for a baby. And her eyes are always paying attention to her baby touching something dangerous. A mother cannot take eyes off her baby for a minute or a second. You never know what they're going to eat, touch something dangerous, or do something dangerous. So mom is always tired. Jesus in the picture is probably trying to touch the porridge given by dad, Joseph. Ah... he's a genius. Aren't our children like that? When my children were little, when we tried to feed them, it was difficult because they kept touching the bowl or trying to play with the spoon. While Mary is holding her baby, Joseph tries to feed the baby, Jesus. But the baby Jesus takes the spoon and tries to play with it. As you know, a baby loves to play with spoon, he sees himself in the mirror-liked spoon. Joseph has to be careful not to lose the spoon. After all, could baby Jesus successfully eat that bowl of porridge? Could he possibly have stolen a spoon, spilled a bowl, or crushed it? like us
Whenever I have a strangely difficult time, a scene with this painting comes up from the memories in my head and comforts me. And sometimes I complain.
God, the owner of all things, was under the love and care of humans for a short time. Could you remember those times and please show mercy to us when we humans are in such a difficult time?
And strangely, that picture was very comforting to me.
You might think of this picture whenever you feel tired, depressed, and empty in the splendid lives of stars and people shown 24 hours a day on Instagram or the media. Because, in fact, it is our real life. And because that's who we really are. Behind the splendor, there is a hidden pain. Have you ever felt depressed and thought that the visible is all?
I would like to see more works that make the invisible visible, like the painter Jacques Blanchard who painted this picture in 1631.
And I hope that there will be more mature people who know the true meaning and attitude of life to take care of themselves, take care of their surroundings, and take care of society to share their hearts more.
In reality, it is tough to console. How many people in the world can genuinely comfort that person at the level of their eyes? And as life gets busier and tougher, these messages of comfort and love seem to disappear more and more.
Perhaps the French painter is not so different from yours in our lives for today when the message of love and consolation long ago disappears. Couldn't it be that he wanted to comfort him by telling him to be brave and love him?
One hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu ravaged the world for over three years. The Spanish Flu is a flu that first appeared in 1918 and killed between 25 and 50 million people worldwide in two years.
Historic demographer Dr. Svenn-Erik Mamelund attempted to study this. He looked at patients in psychiatric wards in Norway from 1872 to 1929. And they found that the number of hospitalized patients for mental disorders caused by influenza increased 7.2-fold in the six years following the Spanish flu epidemic.
The background of the period from 1918 to 1920, when we were suffering from the aftermath of the war and the Spanish Flu, is in many ways similar to the way we are suffering from the coronavirus today. It can be seen that not only the physical illness caused by Corona but also the psychological and psychological pain must be treated.
We suffered from the coronavirus last year, but this year we got the vaccine again and wanted to return to daily life, but then again, we found out about the existence of the delta mutant virus. Lately, I've heard the ambulance so often that I can't believe it. I am comforted by thinking of a painting by an artist 400 years ago at this time of exhaustion. And I also hope to draw such a picture that can give comfort.
The 4 Apples That Changed Humanity
French painter Maurice Denis said, "There are three famous apples in history: the first is Eve's, the second is Newton's, and the third is Cézanne's." Due to the development of civilization in the 21st century, the famous Steve Job's apple is added as the fourth apple.
Image source: Myungja Anna Koh, Edunet, Wikipedia
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work was dedicated to transit from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavor to a modernistic and initially divergent world of art in the 20th century.
Cézanne pioneered his own style of painting, boldly escaping from the style of Impressionist painters at the time, who tried to portray the beauty of objects by capturing the shapes of objects that change with the angle and movement of light. If you look at his paintings, they are structural and formative rather than detailed and realistic. In particular, while the painters of that time fixed the point of view and painted from one point of view, he painted from multiple points of view. Therefore, looking at his paintings somehow makes you uncomfortable. Especially he tried to find the essence of things, not light or the external environment. In other words, he wanted to paint a true picture rather than a beautiful view or decorative paintings.
I love Cézanne's apples so much. Because the philosophy of the apple he drew coincides with the starting point of my painting. He did not simply try to draw apples beautifully, that is, he did not draw consciously of the gaze of others but created his own world with the essence that comes from within, that is, his perspective and philosophy. To build his world in this way, he one day leaves Paris, the home of art, alone and enters the mount Sainte Victoire alone.
Be yourself! Love yourself!
Since I am a person who draws pictures, I always focus more on the story of painting when I watch the news or hear any radios. Today, the news about a watercolor painting by a 6-year-old girl named Edie living in England caught my eye. There were trees on both sides of the road, and the sky above it was a beautiful landscape painting dyed red.
The picture of her I saw is so beautiful. Most of all, it is surprising that a 6-year-old child tried to express the perspective of the trees and the shadows cast between them. And the sky is a pretty deep pink like the sunset. I think she is talented enough. And she is only six years old now. Her many hours and possibilities await her. Traveling while she is growing up, how many colors, shapes, and experiences will she expand her artistic world? It's really exciting just thinking about it. I often understand Picasso's saying that all children are artists. Joseph Beuys, the painter whom I admire, expressed a similar thing. Every life that creates and strives to make life beautiful is called an art.
But the teacher who saw this picture wrote that the picture was wrong.
"How can art be wrong? Please send me a message of consolation to read the child."
Her mother wrote the above text below the teacher's comments and sent it back.
After seeing this post, Rochelle Riley, Director of Arts and Culture of the City of Detroit, immediately posted on Twitter, "I want to buy Edie's painting." Riley and celebrities and artists sent messages of support such as 'I want to buy a painting' and 'I want to make a postcard and have it.
It is reassuring to know that many people already know that there is no correct answer in art. All of the artworks were born from the hand of an artist, but it's entirely up to the viewer to feel it, to appreciate it, to understand it. However, those who say that the creative work that contains the creator's soul is wrong as a personal criterion are because they do not fully understand the concept of art.
There are correct answers in many fields of the world, and there is fierce competition according to the right answers and the correct path. Many people are disappointed, frustrated, and hurt a lot in the race with the correct answer. Some stop themselves because they feel they will never be able to finish the race perfectly. In a tragedy like this, I think art should show people that there is no exhaust answer in the world. And I hope that we can get away from the stress of perfection in that art, stop competing for a while, hold each other's hands and laugh out loud once.
One day in the past, on a trip to Rome, Italy, I saw an artist who was so great that it was a turning point in my life. People were sitting cooling off in front of a fountain in a small town square in Rome. A white-haired old man was showing his finger puppet show on the mobile theater he had carefully built right in front of the place. It was a hot day, and also the tourist was busy taking pictures of the surroundings, so they did not pay much attention to the old man's play. He was sweating, and no one was watching, but he put all his heart into his play. After finishing his performance, he hand out a piece of paper to those around him. Inside that piece of paper, the following phrases were written in several languages.
" Just be yourself and nobody will ever be able to tell you that you've done it wrong."
It was also written in Korean, friendly and kind. The moment I saw the paper, I felt like a bell was ringing in my head. It was as if he was urging me, who was wandering without finding my way, to hurry.
I am on the same path like him now, thanks to that beautiful and brave artist. And I still have that paper. More than ten years have passed, and the piece is now in tatters. But the message he gives becomes clearer in my life.
In my first exhibition in Germany, I put his image on canvas as if it were a wrong painting.
I couldn't take a picture at the time during the travel, so I had to draw a picture of him that I barely remembered. After that, I've added people who aren't interested in his play. In my painting, the elderly artist does not look around but sees his own path in front.
When I exhibited this painting, someone came to me and told me. "Oh, by the way, I think this picture is a bit wrong." I wanted to tell the story of the picture if she asked, but once she told me I was wrong, I should ask why. She said that it's not her style, but others would say it's wrong.
That's right. It's just not her style. So maybe? Most of the works in the first exhibition have sold out over the years, and I still have them in my hands. But I want to keep this drawing just like the paper he gave me.
And even now, I continue to draw only in my style. It makes me so happy to live my own life without living this other life. And I want to say that there is nothing wrong, as the artist in the Piazza Rome said.
I chose art because I like art, like our lives, there are no correct perfect answers. However, my husband, a mathematician, and economist said he chose mathematics because it has an answer, so he was attracted to it. I chose art, but I live with my husband, who likes the correct answer. My husband told me about the mathematician Cantor. Cantor said that mathematics and art are essentially the same in that they seek patterns in chaos and infinite freedom in rules.
A work of art is not wrong, but it is not without answers. The artist's mission was to constantly ponder art and try to find the answer to solve life's difficulties. In a way, in the name of art, this may or may not be suitable.
Through this story, I hope that the debate over whether the work is wrong or not becomes common so that more people will have an opportunity to think about an artwork again.
Artist Andreas Helmling
The town when I have been in Germany, Karlsruhe, is a city in southwestern Germany. It is north of the Black Forest, close to the French border, and is famous for two of the highest federal courts (the Federal Constitutional court and the Federal Court of Justice) and a central hub for science and technology. Also, it has a former weapons factory, now transformed to ZKM center for art and Media.