I sit here in front of a portrait Sarah Siddons. My summer sweat sticks to the lavish leather on the most indulgent chair I’ve ever sat in. Above me, this oil on canvas hangs like a robust reminder of unrequited love.
Joshua Reynolds painted it in 1784. Siddon’s face is demure, luxurious and yet pained. Joshua Reynolds really had it bad for Sarah Siddons. He signed “for” on the hem of her dress, “I have resolved to go down to posterity on the hem of your garment.” The painting was all over All About Eve. Dude was in love.
My hair is freshly cut. I’ve just come from the salon. Earlier, I was feeling a little too contemporary and claustrophobic for this place. I don’t want to ever feel too locked into a specific time period. Too antiquated. I don’t like that feeling of being stuck in a tomb of art that I can’t escape, but not tonight. Tonight, I feel neoclassical as f#ck. The “do not disturb” sign is up.
To be honest, I’m not really much into curated art and never have been, but I’m listening to St. Germain on my headphones and I’ve been weaving in and out of this museum for the past hour in a trance-like state. I feel melded into worlds–different worlds, ancient worlds, masterful pieces of art that have been carefully carved, sculpted and brought to life.
In short, I am lost.
Lost in that good way. Lost in the “sense of wonderment” way. Lost in that way that only one can get lost in art or music. My senses are overwhelmed. A bright yellow fan with netting material cools the room where “Sarcophagus and lid with husband and wife” lays. The couple are interwoven. Dead and in love. Perfectly stunning–a perfect combination of sad and beautiful. I want that Sunday-kind-of-love. Who doesn’t? Some things are universal and timeless. 300 B.C. and yet…here were are.
Off to the side is the restoration room. As a photographer and musician, my approach to art is quite literal. Snap the photo. Play the note. I can’t stand theory, so I’m not a shirt-and-tie-type-of-art-person, but this place feels magical tonight–child-like and innocent, timeless and free. I am reeling, my senses overwhelmed. Some people don’t believe museums are even important or even relevant anymore. I guess I used to be one of those people, but tonight has totally shifted my perspective.
And then I sang a duet with a young man working the information booth.
We inspire each other.
To see and to hear is just as important as to create.
We reflect off of each other.
you gather back
all that dazzling dawn has put asunder
you gather a lamb
gather a kid
gather a child to its mother -Sappho