Recently a group of online friends decided to set up a Friday Challenge for ourselves – the #wanafriday challenge. Our first task is to introduce you to a favourite work of art. I found it difficult as you will see – until – like writing – inspiration hit me.
The Mona Lisa?
Not any more although she once was. She is still very beautiful in her enigmatic way. But so very small and fragile and lonely.
The Sydney Opera House?
The Opera House is very familiar, perhaps even too familiar. Every now and then though I realise what a wonderful piece of art it is. Spectacular, breath-taking, and nearly impossible to photograph. (You don’t know how long it took to find this picture among the thousands available.) My Aunt lived across the Harbour for years and when I travelled down to visit in each school holiday I’d stand at the laundry window (of all places) or climb up onto the apartment roof and stare, intrigued by the changes, by what was being revealed as the scaffolding came down. But again – a favourite? Not quite.
Venus de Milo
Yes. She comes close, very, very close. I’ve never seen her, but I don’t need to – I know exactly how she feels and what she’s thinking as she stands there spinning the clouds (pneuma) into the life force – the thread of life. It is an idea which imbues the statue with a depth and meaning beyond the surface and for me that is the essence of art.
I have no idea if this spinning theory has yet been discredited academically, but whenever I spindle spin my arms and shoulders are exactly in the position hers are in and so I choose to believe the theory true. Perhaps there is even a little of her in all spinners?
So to answer my own question – for something to become a “favourite” there needs to be a sense of empathy, something above, beyond, below and within the artwork which resonates at a particular time – a thread of unknown origin reaching out to bind me to it.
How about you? How do you decide what a favourite is?
This week’s #wanafriday participants – have a look: