Time stands still whenever my eyes alight upon a piece of artwork that catches me unawares, and just like a stare-me-down-contest, I find it hard to tear my eyes away. It matters not if it is a painting, a woven tapestry, a photograph, an intricate piece of jewelry, a fashionable garment, a decorated room, a clay pot, a sculpture, a quilt, an English garden or a particular shade of pink ribbon in a little girl’s hair. Once the object d’art has stopped me in my tracks, I’m hooked and must drink in its beauty, appreciate the craftsmanship, labor of love and most often experience the bared soul of the artist.
Years ago, my Father and Mother took Mary and me to The New York World’s Fair. My it was grand. A few years prior to this, our family lived not five miles across the bay from Manhattan, on Staten Island, NY. Happily we were once again in my beloved New York City.
There were so many things to do, new foods to try, a Belgian waffle with sweet strawberries and whipped creme fraiche. There were modern and scientific displays and moving sidewalks, upon which the public would stand to be moved automatically through another country of the world.
We entered the country of Italy as Mother wanted to see a display about great Italian artists. After standing in line for what seemed like hours (I was young and impatient), we were allowed to walk up to the important section. I knew it was because they had placed red velvet ropes with brass clips to keep the public back and away. A hush ensued and there were signs telling us that we were not permitted to touch anything.
As we moved closer to the focal point we beheld the most breathtakingly magnificent sculpture. I was taken aback and stunned that any human being could make marble look like that. Had no idea such a rendition of this existed, yet here it was. Not ten feet away from where we stood transfixed, was the Virgin Mary cradling Jesus, after he had died upon the cross.
How had someone thought this up let alone tapped away, day after day on cold hard marble, to produce perhaps the finest work of art in the world? Her sorrow and hopelessness had been captured … her son was gone. It was evident to all who passed by in hushed reverence.
The artist was Michelangelo, and his sculpture was called The Pieta`. He was just a young man when he sculpted this masterpiece, his most important work.
Standing there I felt my cheeks damp with hot tears … for His death, and for her sadness, yet inside, I was elated to see what a tremendous gift God had bestowed.
I sincerely wish that one day you might stand in the presence of something so grand and beautiful that you are captivated and cannot look away.
* Revised from my original post April 25, 2007.
Original and not to be duplicated.