Last week I did something I'd never done before: I took an art day all for myself. Well, it wasn't quite a full day, just a morning. But in one morning, I saw two art exhibitions – two! What a blessing, what a joy, what a rejuvenating feeling! Even now, days later, I still feel my head swirl and my spirit soar from all that beauty.
I went to see paintings by two very different artists, the Italian Giovanni Segantini, and the Russian-French Marc Chagall, and as I strolled slowly by the canvasses, taking my time to take it all in, ideas and reflections about my own little sphere of image-production, photography, popped into my head. I also had exciting, sudden impulses to take paint brushes and oils in hand, and explore making pictures instead of taking them. But about photography, looking at those paintings made me aware of some crucial aspects of picture-taking that I quite often leave unexplored. Segantini's paintings, in fact, struck me particularly for the amazing way they convey light: all different shades of light, and the dramatic play of the cardinal contrast between darkness and light. Chagall's canvasses, on on the other hand, were triumphs of color, harmoniously pulsating with the vibrancy of unexpected tints together. Ah, the elusive (natural) light, and the difficult-to-capture complexity of colors - I frequently underestimate these two elements in my photos, and I will make a point of learning about them.
And there was something else about art that struck me that morning: I wasn't alone at the exhibitions, and despite the cold drizzling day, there were ever growing lines in front of Palazzo Reale in Milan, patiently waiting to get in. A testimony of the fact that these days, darkened by the deep economic crisis and the threat of terrorism, people feel an even greater need of art and beauty.