I’m sure you must have experienced what you may call, “The Perfect Moment”. Maybe you were outside on a sunny day. The air warms your skin at the right temperature, You forget where you are, maybe even who you are. There is a moment where everything, even for just a moment, all seems right. Fitting music plays at just the right time. As crazy as our lives there, there is this moment of serenity, making us appreciate the miracle that, in this moment, we are alive.
I imagine for many people, myself included, those moments are most frequent while in the arms of someone we love.
The artistic term for this is “sublime” which is akin to an almost unearthly happiness. If an art piece makes you feel this way, to me, that’s a truly powerful thing. In a world rife with poverty, the horrors of war, and divisiveness, art pieces that bring a sense of beauty and joy into it remind us that maybe there is something deep within us that has the potential to do good.
Not unlike this painting by Pierre Auguste Cot, a pupil of my favorite artist, Adolph Bouguereau.
In May, I found this painting on the internet. I’ve seen it before on several occasions, though never been able to in person. Though I can’t say I felt the “sublime” by only looking at a photo of a painting on the internet, I was still very drawn to it. To me, this looked like a simulation of the sublime, perfect moment. I could feel some semblance of what the young lovers in the painting felt. The light breaking through the leaves, the sleepy, happy expressions, the sense of movement from the girl’s transparent clothing, and the sense of happy calmness from the blueish green color choices and vibrancy surrounding the couple. Everything in their lives feels perfect. A moment. Captured forever.
I found that the best way for me to learn about art is to reverse engineer it. I’ve decided to copy the painting and learn what I can. I even want to sort of go against my art history education (or revert to an older method of said education?) where I attempt to look at the piece uncorrupted by historical context. I come to purely my own conclusions. I attempt to form a relationship with the artwork, to find hidden clues on my own without having read anything by previous art critics or analysts.
Then after I complete the painting, read the literature on it and see how close my interpretations are to the traditional art historians.
I’m mostly doing this for fun, also to improve my artistic skill, and also to keep up and expand on my art education. Unlike the Cafe Terrace at Night copy I did a while back, nobody is paying me to make this painting. This is all out of my own pocket. I have no due dates, no grades to worry about, so even if my interpretations are completely off, the only thing I have to lose is perhaps maybe a sense of pride upon being called out by someone smarter than me, and I that’s something I don’t mind losing if it helps me become more educated.
I appreciate this journey you’re taking with me as I do this, and for taking the time to read this post. So thank you.