I love art galleries. The light, the spaces. A well done art museum provides a place that is interesting and stimulating but also keeps the focus on the artist’s work. Designing a gallery is an art form in itself! This is the Musee Marc Chagall in Nice, France. I love the colors that he uses, so bold and bright. The space was also beautifully done, to display his work and to learn about his life. I wish more museums would let you take pictures. I don’t want to take pictures of the art itself, I can buy a postcard or print if I want that, but I want to capture the spaces the art is displayed in.
Yesterday we went to the Steve McCurry Sud-Est 1980-2009 exhibit in Milano.
What an amazing photographer, able to capture the feel and story of a place and time. Able to capture the essence of a person’s soul in his portraits. You feel like you are looking right inside them, and in return, they move something in you.
My goal of photographing and sharing the exhibit was not to reproduce his work, that is already done beautifully in the exhibit website and on his own website. My goal was just to show how they were presented, and how powerful and moving the photographs are. Seeing them large scale and in person was amazing. It showed me something different about how you can experience a powerful photograph.
In some ways, as a photographer myself, it was overwhelming. I mean, in the face of such greatness, why do I bother? But in light of yesterday’s post, I remember that I have something to contribute too, my own unique vision. Steve McCurry’s vision is beyond amazing, he is clearly an artist of extraordinary talent.
All I can say is… Wow.
The Musee d’Orsay, the museum of Impressionist art in Paris, is one of the best museums there is. Such an amazing collection of paintings and artists in one place. I identify more with modern art, like the Impressionists, than the classical art of the Rennaisance and earlier. Part of it is the subject, but part of it is also the style. My personal philosophy of art is that it should capture the artist’s impression of the thing, not the reality of it. If we want reality, we can do that with photography these days. I love brushstrokes and color and the emotion that the image can evoke. This was the perfect museum for me!
For a long time, I didn’t understand how photography was the “study of light” until I took enough pictures, took the time to see what I was really doing was capturing the light that illuminates the object as much as the object itself. In the same way, I’ve never really understood or appreciated sculpture as capturing light. It was two things that did it for me, seeing and photographing this work Eros and Psyche by Antonio Canova in the Louvre, and seeing an exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs alongside Michaelangelo’s David in the Accademia in Florence.
Sculpture really is the study of light on a volume, the same way that photography is. But it’s in 3D. You can walk around it, see it from all angles, and appreciate the art in a different way. Next time you see a sculpture, whether modern art or classic figures in marble, try to notice how it captures the light.
One of the things I loved about the Paris museums is that they actually allow you to take pictures, unlike the Italian ones. Usually I don’t want to take pictures of specific art, but want to capture how it is presented. I loved this look down a wing of the Louvre. Not one of the famous works of art was here, as evidenced by the lack of people. Just the docent, sitting quietly, and the art iself, waiting for someone to happen by. For some reason this just makes me smile.