Like most Americans, my first experience with the work "Water Lilies" by Monet was in elementary school. We learned about Monet a bit in art class, and made our own "Monet Style" paintings. Mine wound up looking like something along the lines of vomit.
Between 8 and 14 years later, to be vague, I found myself face to face with the infamous work in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
(It looked nothing like vomit.)
While these photographs are not mine (my camera died by the time we reached this exhibit) I feel they properly convey the size of the paintings. They are huge! There were at least twenty to thirty other people in the room besides us, and we were a group of three. Those benches are not measly four-butt benches, either.
(Clearly, these benches can comfortably house twelve butts.)
The benches are also not nearly as comfortable as they seem. I didn't spend much time at the exhibit, quite frankly there was much more interesting work than something I studied in the third grade to be seen and the room was getting crowded. However, I will never forget the feeling that struck me when I first came face to face with the paintings.
I was hungry, as I marched into the room. I hadn't expected this work to be where it was, and came in from the side. Up close, it was very textured and colorful. I was tranquilized as my mind tried to make sense of the color I stared at. My eyes focused, and unfocused. I no longer cared about food.
People had collected on the other side of the room, behind the benches. I decided it would probably be best to join them, for the view was probably better over there. As I walked away from the paintings, they started to focus, melding and morphing into the piece I knew so well.
"I know this!" I hissed to my father, pawing at his elbow. Of course, he did too, and instantly began the history lesson. His voice fell on deaf ears, for I suddenly felt weightless and calm. It was as if the water depicted in the painting had poured into my soul. The brushstrokes, however frenzied, together created an image so beautiful, so captivating, so ...