I have very little aesthetic sense. I studied Aesthetics as a Philosophy major in college, and I was pretty much terrified the entire time. My professor once said that my aesthetic sense was only evolved as far as, “me likey; me no likey”. She was absolutely right. I enjoy art, but I don’t understand it. I can’t explain why I like one piece and dislike another one — I just do. I have no appreciation for technique or sophistication. And I can’t even begin to differentiate “good” art from “bad” art, nor can I have a reasonable conversation about whether or not that’s even a valid distinction to make. That being said, there are pieces of art that I enjoy, and artists whose work I admire. As all art is well beyond my own ability, I can appreciate all of it as an impressive demonstration of a skill I will never have.
Like many of the uncultured art appreciators of the world, my “favorite” artists are the best known. I like Monet, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and (some) Picasso. Living in Vienna, and visiting some amazing places that truly appreciate great art (like Rome and Paris), I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of art that I enjoy, and a lot of art that is relatively famous. I’m grateful to have had that opportunity, and I’m trying to make a point of seeing more art when I get the chance. I don’t get the chance all that often. Between the boys’ school schedule, pickups, drop offs, errands, and everything else in life, I don’t often get to see a lot of art.
But, when the Belvedere hosted a Monet exhibit this past winter, I convinced a friend to join me and we went to see it.
I’ve always loved Monet. The colors are beautiful, and his art just makes a lot of sense to me (my theory is that because my vision is pretty poor, his art looks how everything looks to me). I know that his waterlilies are among his most famous paintings, but I’ve always been more enthusiastic about his London paintings (they were some of the first paintings I ever really loved). We were lucky enough to get to see two of them in person, which was really fantastic. The exhibit also showed some of his seascapes, and a bit of work by other artists who were inspired by Monet. I thoroughly enjoyed (most) of it.
I’m still ignorant when it comes to art, but I’m really glad we went to see the exhibit. (I feel very slightly less uncultured now.) We finished up our morning with a stroll around the frozen gardens of the Belvedere Palace. It was a great day, and an enriching experience, regardless of my lack of aesthetic.