Art of Perfection

Don’t wait.

The time will never be just right.

Napoleon Hill

Another week of the kids home (I’ve counted no school every six weeks!) always makes me swear I want to be a teacher–if only for the holiday calendar.  After a day at the Met, my daughter swears she’s never going back to any museum the rest of her life.

I wanted (her) to see Matisse:  In Search of True Painting, a virtual slideshow of how an artist’s work evolves.   Though I prefer classical paintings and sculptures, I love modern art because it generally gives you the feeling of “Hey, I can do that, too!”     The exhibit features pairs, trios or a series of the same period, according to subject matter and theme, making sense of the multiplicity of Henri Matisse’s body of work.  You see how paintings morph through several mutations as the artist changes his mind, opening himself to experimentation and new influences.

Matisse collaborated with Matrossian, an Armenian, to photograph the various stages of his painting process.  Matisse’s The Dream is presented as he originally did in a 1940 salon:  the finished work is surrounded by pictures of the painting in progress throughout that year.  He starts with a sketch of background detail and foliage that turn fewer and larger then ultimately disappear.  The woman’s head of hair starts wavy, straightens then turns wavy again, eventually becomes a bald scalp with squiggles half a year later.  The original background detail lost itself to a simple splash of red that jolts the eye.

Who would have guessed that someone like Matisse (who was revered as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century) did not find painting easy?  He continually questioned and  reevaluated his choices, borrowing stylistic elements from other artists to render his own interpretations.  This exhibit lifts the veil to the reality behind the making of any masterpiece.  It is a necessary education for many of us who compare the “work in progress” of our lives against the magnum opus of the lifetime of others.   Art being the most fundamental metaphor of our power to create, I like being assured that we can take our time evolving, experimenting, changing our minds and choices more than a few dozen times to arrive at a final decision–final being whatever we determine it to be.  And perfection being implicit in every moment.

Matisse: In Search of True Painting is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 17, 2013.

Click on “Leave a comment” (above left) to share how you’ve relaxed the standard of perfection to enjoy living and breathing the evolving masterpiece of your life.



Images above from Google

Images below from the New York Magazine

Henri Matisse "The Dream" painting

Henri Matisse "The Dream" painting

Henri Mattise "The Dream" painting


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mountain
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 12:55:47

    Such an mean mommy! Subjecting your daughter to the torture of fine art.:) The next time you bring your family to LA you might torture them more at “The Huntington” in San Marino, a short drive! Fine art, botanical gardens and a High Tea. A great way to spend the day… Don’t tell your kids I suggested it.;)

    Thanks for sharing…Sharon!


    • Powerful Goddess Photography
      Feb 24, 2013 @ 12:59:00

      Yes, torture comes in many fine variations.

      The Huntington is definitely on my list next visit with or without kids. Thank you, Mountain!


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