This Wednesday, I got the afternoon off from my internship and so I used that time to visit my favourite series of paintings. Is it weird to have a favourite series of paintings? Maybe. But this series has been my favourite since I was in primary school. We visited the museum on a school trip and I remember standing in front of one of the paintings in the series and just being fascinated. It was this one:
This painting is called The Doom Fulfilled by Edward Burne-Jones. It shows Perseus freeing Andromeda. The entire series is based on myths about Perseus and the artist never actually got to finish the series as he died prior to completing all the paintings. When I was on that school trip, I was fascinated with how real the monster looked. I actually dragged my mother back to the museum once I got home from the trip and the kind staff of the museum listened to my young self describe the painting until they figured out which painting it was so they could give us directions to the painting. Since then, I have returned quite often to the museum (the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart) to visit this painting and the others in the series.
I feel like there are so much of these stories attached to paintings in museums. Some artworks we just walk past because we do not see anything in them, but someone else sees something special in them. Someone else may have a history with them. When I visited the museum on Wednesday, I walked past a massive red canvas with a few straight lines on it. A guy stood in front of it and you could tell he was entirely focused on the painting and then he sat down and started taking notes. I wonder what he saw in that painting. What invisible story he sees on its canvas.
There is one more painting I would like to share with you all: Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Lucas Cranach.
It hangs in the department for old German art and is surrounded by other biblical art. Before eighth grade, I would probably have just walked right past this painting. Why eighth grade? Well, once again, this has to do with a school trip. But this time, I organised the trip. I had asked to hold a voluntary presentation in my German class in order to get an A in the class. My teacher had set this painting as the topic. And so I started doing my research on the woman in this painting. She beheaded an enemy leader to free her people and is a heroine in the Bible. Although I am an atheist, I was super fascinated by her story and researching her was a lot of fun. Whenever I go back to this painting, I remember the time I spent taking notes on Judith, the questions asked by my peers, and the fun we all had on the trip.
It is these invisible stories that people associate with the art in a museum that makes the artwork even more interesting. If you have a favourite painting, please feel free to send me a message and tell me your thoughts about your favourite piece of art.
Lots of Love,
All paintings shown in this blog post were photographed in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.