Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Old Masters. The transcendent moment.
Later, as I do a sweep through the images that I have collected, I find one that seems to speak to a larger question about the arts. Clara is about to blow out her candles but one is smoking badly and Tim, her dad, reaches over and snuffs it out. It will be relit and the ceremony will continue, but the moment of surprise that I have captured, the expression, the body language, while not up to old masters standards, sets me to thinking about all those paintings that grace the walls of museums and are our legacy from the creative people of the past.
What my image has in common with the great ones, the Caravaggios and Rembrandts, is the dramatic moment; the point of change when something unexpected steps into her life. Those great artists have captured that point of revelation in a much more profound way and have expressed it in paint or stone. An amazing leap of understanding for human beings to make. Yesterday there was an overlap of sorts when I listened on the radio to the creation of another saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The man in question, Brother Andre, had spent his life as a simple usher in a large church in eastern Canada and over a lifetime had developed a reputation for miraculously healing the sick and also for giving people the grace to accept what could not be cured. He incorporated the transcendent which, like lightening, passed through him into those that suffered. And the artists who wrought those images that touch us today long after their own lifetimes, what was it that worked in their lives? How was it that, despite often personally difficult and less that stellar personal lives, they were able to achieve such imagery, the tipping point in people`s lives?