Big Art Theory Blog

a place where art meets literature in a way unseen before

‘What If Van Gogh Had Instagram and Hopper Millions Of Facebook Followers? (22)

‘If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced’ Vincent Van Gogh

Just right before New Year’s Eve I decided to take a look at the collection of the books in my little library and pick up the titles that I wanted to add to my personal ‘waiting list’. There is one, particular shelf in my office where books stand in a sort ‘priority queue’. This is where I keep the most important books that I haven’t finished reading yet. ‘Lucas’ by Kevin Brooks  was one of the novels that I started to read last summer and somehow never got to an end of it. When I asked myself, why did I actually buy this book, I realized that it was because of its remarkable and meaningful foreword. It hypnotized me the first time I’ve read it:

‘I don’t know, Dad’ – I sighed – ‘I am not sure I can paint’.

‘Ah now, that’s nonsense. Anyone can paint. (…)

‘But I don’t know all the techniques and styles, you know..’

 ‘Art isn’t about techniques or styles, son. Art is about feelings that you translate into a vision. You’ve got your feelings, haven’t you?’

‘Too many’ – I said.

‘Well, that’s all you need. He puts his hand on mine. ‘You just have to let it out.’

So that’s what I did. And this is it.’

Talking about feelings and  inspiration. When I’ve recently visited a very informative and platform there was one particular article that caught my attention. It was called ‘Adrien Brody on Why It’s Never Too Late to Become an Artist’. Most of us remember this American actor from  films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong (2005), and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (2011).  I was delighted and truly excited about this good news for the art world and fans of Brody but I can’t say I was really surprised. In fact I could tell by the sparkle in the actors eyes that he was after something. There is no deny that working with the movie directors and the film crew is a team-work. No matter how ‘creative’ acting is – it certainly cannot be compared to the process of creating an artwork as this activity could grant an artist total freedom of expression. And this is why Brody decided to undertake something new. The question is –  how did that happen? Let’s see how explained it:

‘It happened by chance. A friend of Brody’s, a French artist, had promised to paint him a piece. After four years, and a period spent out of touch, they finally settled on a time for the work to be completed. “I built him a large canvas, measured it for the wall,” recalls Brody. “And I bought some additional canvases in case he wanted to do some additional work and play around. I thought I might help him. And so while he was painting, I started painting some stuff too.” Brody’s friend was adamant that the actor had to continue.’

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Adrien Brody  in front of his artwork ‘Dropfish’ at New York, 2016,  David Benrimon Fine Art, New York

And here’s my version.

It was a feeling.

Sometimes, if you don’t follow your feeling, you will have to wait till the rest of your life waiting for your head to explode.

In my opinion the fact that the actor finally begun to create his own artworks – shows that you cannot escape from something that you had crush on for a very long time.

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Adrien Brody creating an artwork, source:

The thing is that if the feeling arrives we just ‘know’. The same way birds know it’s time to migrate or the dogs know the thunderstorm is coming. In times like these – when you experience ‘new calling’ –  you have to act upon it.

If the 43 old  movie star did not take his fame and success for granted and still has had the desire to get down to work and start something new and challenging, this can mean only one thing. Namely, that bad timing, terrible circumstances or different (a non- artistic) professional experience is no excuse. And that proactive approach is something that we need, especially now – while the world is busy with new year’s resolutions’.

Change is an opposite to waiting. Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.


A scene from ‘The Pianist’ by Roman Polansky, 2002

The news on Brody is another sign that that all artistic souls have their own, unmistakable light. In most cases it is just a matter of time that they leave the doubts and eagerly start another chapter of their lives. It is the flame of  inner creativity that cannot be left unnoticed, the desire to learn something new, to ‘let out’, the need to unleash the artistic potential that begins to speak louder than anything else and invites the change.

The recent story of Mr Brody, the Oscar winner for the cinematic masterpiece by Polansky ‘Pianist’, is a great example that  successful career is not something that gives one permission to ‘sit down and relax’.

It is important for me to stress, right here, that making yourself a name as an international artist (known  today as ‘personal branding’) used to be an almost impossible task in the past, having in mind no social media that faster than ever before,  turn the world into a global village. In the past there were no international online art galleries such as, or, let alone the talent search platforms such as that connects artists around the world to art “seekers”. The artist had no chance to  post, tag and promote their work. All they had was their talent and will to work hard.

Monet and his Waterlilies in his studio (1923-24).jpg


Can you imagine what would have happened if Van Gogh could use Instagram on daily basis, sitting alone in his room in Arles? Imagine he had the opportunity to interact with thousands and millions of  his followers and share his work, contact galleries and museums? Can you picture  Monet promoting his water lilies series on Facebook Fanpage, waiting for another like, making selfies –  while playing with his smartphone in Giverny?

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Claude Monet at his gardens, in Giverny, Paris.

But let’s don’t’ get carried away by ‘what if’s’. Here are the facts on some of the  world’s most famous painters of all the times.

The master of American realism, Edward Hopper didn’t sell a painting until his 30s. In fact nobody really noticed his art  until his 40s. After the sale of single painting in his 30s he struggled financially for another 10 years before becoming recognized for his highly unique stylistic features in his paintings of American life.


Edward Hopper Sketching in Paris, 1927. Gelatin Silver print. Frances Mulhall Achilles Library


Edward Hopper, ‘Western Hotel’, 1957,  National Gallery Of Art, Washington, US

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Edward Hopper, ‘Hotel By The Railroad’, 1952, Private Collection

Cezanne, on the other hand, went off to Paris in his early 20s as an enthusiastic young painter to go to art school. He failed the entrance exam for the art school Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was knocked back from the Salon many times. He began working with Camille Pissaro in his 30s, so being around peers helped him develop work, and he gained some small accolades in his 40s. He died reclusive and alone before his work was discovered by an English art critic many decades after his death.




Paul Cézanne, Paul Alexis reading to Émile Zola, 1869-1870, oil on canvas, São Paulo Museum of Art


Paul Cezanne, ‘The Bathers’, 1900, National Gallery, London, UK


Paul Cezanne, ‘Boy in the Red Vest’, 1889 or 1890,  Foundation E.G. Bührle, valued at $91 million

And here comes another icon of Impressionism.After the death of his wife, when he was in his 40s, Monet began to paint in high volumes. He had painted in his 30s, and received small bits of recognition. He didn’t really hit the ground until nearly halfway through his life. After painting “Impressions Sunrise” in his 30s, it took him another decade before he invented and developed his iconic style. It was the artworks created in his ‘old years’ in Giverny, outside of Paris that contributed to his international fame and recognition


Claude Monet, ‘Le bassin aux nymphéas’, Private Collection – Claude Monet, valued at $89.6 million 


Claude Monet, Mother and a child, 1875, Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, MA, US

The beginning of new year is a perfect moment to make a plan, write down the goals and stick to it, weather you’re an artist, a writer, an entrepreneur or a goalkeeper. If your chased by a creative idea or are busy with something –  but aren’t there yet –  do not get discouraged, but try over and over again. You just never know  where the new journey will end. The trick about trying is is that you could wake up one day as a  different, happier, more fulfilled person. This is whom I see now,  whenever I look at Adrien Brody images,  seeing him proudly posing in front of his paintings.

“Are you ready?” Klaus asked finally.
“No,” Sunny answered.
“Me neither,” Violet said, “but if we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives, Let’s go.” 
― Lemony SnicketThe Ersatz Elevator

‘The Artist Is Not Made For Defeat. Between Secrecy And A Search For Unspeakable Truth.'(21)

‘You see something. You identify it not for what it is but as a function of what of your own background and your own life prompt you to see. We carry with us not only our worries, but also what happens to us and what we anticipate will happen. We are not content with just being in the world. We are here as killers, musicians, artists and so on.’

Halim Al Karim

Do you remember the last time when looking at an artwork has opened up something inside you? The moment when a painting or a photography ‘looked back at you’ with the gaze that has the intensity of a real human being, disarming you totally, from one moment to the next?

I am sure that the most of you experienced a total ‘merge’ with a form of art at least once during your lifetime.  For some people it would be a visual artwork – for others a piece of beautiful music or stunning performance at the theater.

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Halim Al Karim, ‘Eternal Love’

When it happens – one begins  to unfold the unearthly, encrypted messages from the inspired artist. It’s important to add that you may feel slightly intimidated with the fact that somebody (in this case it is the artist) who knows you so well.

There are artworks that will make you wonder, how did he or she know?


Halim Al Karim, White Ash 8 Ed.8


Halim Al Karim, Eternal Love 10 Ed. 3 + 2AP

I have come to  realize that this very special kind of art, in some incomprehensible way, has the ability to purify you, leaving you with a feeling of awe, holiness and enlightenment.

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Halim Al Karim, Hidden Godess Hidden Goddess 5, 2009

If you  know how to listen – that sort of  would tell you fascinating stories. If you are ‘receptive’ an artwork could actually speak to you and just like the Princess of the mystic East from ‘Arabic Nights’, Scheherazade. It would tease you with thousands of breathtaking tales, leaving you asking for more but never really coming to an end of the story.

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Halim Al Karim, ‘Hidden Goddess’, 2009

Sometimes art takes a shape of a beautiful virgin that touches you with her long, white fingers but never reveals all of her secrets, only bringing you closer to conclusions that you’d otherwise never make.  From this point of view the artists are the greatest and most generous givers in the world  that don’t truly realize the importance of their mission. Is there anything more precious on this earth, than the content of the artist soul reflected in a piece of art?

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The picture taken in XVA Art Hotel,Dubai, Authors Private Collection

Some artworks by exceptional artist can set free all that’s been locked up.  For me the photography by an Iraqi artist Halim Al Karim that I’ve been lately introduced to – posses that that kind of special power. Halims art scratches you, devours you – touching your soul with a new kind of curse and teaching you, just like the poem by Polish writer – Zbigniew Herbert ‘The Evoy of Mr. Cogito’, to be faithful and go:

Go where those others went to the dark boundary

for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees

among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live

you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous

in the final account only this is important

and let your helpless Anger be like the sea

whenever you hear the voice of the insulted and beaten


Halim Al Karim, ‘Lost Memory’, 

I met Halim Al Karim during my most recent trip to the Middle-East. On the last day of my stay in the beautifully located hotel called XVA Art Hotel (a ‘place to be’ for all Dubai visitors who love contemporary art and appreciate original and traditional style of interiors and delicious breakfasts) I’ve been introduced to the long-haired artist by an American lady,  Mona Hauser (the very kind and unbelievably hospitable hotel and gallery founder).

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XVA Art Hotel, Dubai, Authors Private Collection 


During our very short conversation Halim looked at me with his big, brown eyes and was trying to explained to me the origin of creativity:

‘Cavemen had no education, neither have they seen museums or art galleries. Still – something in them enabled them to paint the beautiful shapes on the cage the walls’.

What stroke me at first was  – while Halim was speaking to me- was the fact that he was both ‘present’ and ‘absent’. During our conversation the artist seemed to be detached from the reality, trying to protect himself from me and the rest of the world. Deep inside I was sure there must be a reason why  the artist was building those walls around him, appearing to me as ‘ a difficult game’. There was something about him that made him take a step back and stop others from coming any closer. For a moment I felt like I was  near to wild animal that could  be easily frightened away.

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Halim Al Karim in Denver Museum Of Art

At the same time I knew I was invited to enter the very exclusive territory, that one would step into with utmost respect, wearing no shoes, in order to make sure that the sleeping monsters and demons in the artist head, aren’t woken up.


Halim Al Karim, ‘Eternal  Love’

There are many things that I’veI learned few hours later, from the book that I have received from Halims close friend and artist Irfan Mvgdi residing in the same hotel.  As a matter of fact Halim Al-Karim underwent a harrowing experience during the first Gulf War. Opposing Saddam’s regime and its compulsory military service he took to hiding in the desert, living for almost 3 years in a hole in the ground covered by a pile of rocks. He survived only through the assistance of a Bedouin woman who brought him food and water and taught him about gypsy customs and mysticism.


Halim Al Karim, ‘Goddesses of Beirut’

In some of Halim’s work, photography is used for its non-physical qualities: a medium which quite literally creates an image from light, capturing the transient and interwoven nature of time and  memory.

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Halim Al Karim, Hidden War (From Hidden Series), 1985


The Sumerian artifacts featured in Al-Karim’s Hidden Prisoner and Hidden Goddess were photographed in the Louvre and the British Museum; Al-Karim describes seeing them interned behind glass, far away from their home, as a painful reminder of visiting his friends and family who were held as political prisoners at Abu Ghraib during Saddam’s regime.

The Images of Al-Karim whisper the words of truth. They recite tales of a man that went trough many traumatic experiences – and yet – never took his existence for granted.

‘repeat old incantations of humanity fables and legends

because this is how you will attain the good you will not attain

repeat great words repeat them stubbornly

like those crossing the desert who perished in the sand

and they will reward you with what they have at hand

with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap

go because only in this way will you be admitted to the company of cold skulls

to the company of your ancestors: Gilgamesh Hector Roland

the defenders of the kingdom without limit and the city of ashes

Be faithful Go’

(Zbigniew Herbert’ ‘Envoy of Mr. Cogito)


Halim Al Karim, Hidden Victim, 2008, Weng Art Foundation, Krefelfd, Germany

There is plenty of pain, solitude, fear, longing for love, search for inner peace– the ache of existance and the ache of of death. But most of all there is this a penetrating gaze of a person that may forgive but shall never forget.


Halim Al Karim, ‘Witness from Baghdad 3’ (from Witness From Baghdad Series), 2008

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The picture taken in XVA Art Hotel, Dubai, Authors Collection

All of the artworks by Halim Al Karim  that I’ve seen so far bring to mind a self-portrait. This way Halims portraits of women (the goddesses) and men become the portraits of all human kind.  Moreover, there is one, important thing they have got in common. Namely, the persistence and the steadfastness that the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature, Ernest Hemingway spoke of,  in one of his most famous short story:  “An Old Man And The Sea”.

‘A man not made for defeat.  A man can be destroyed but not defeated’


Women look at “Witness from Baghdad” by Iraqi artist Halim al-Karim, exhibited by Christie’s for its seventh auction of international modern and contemporary art in Dubai. (Photo by Karim Sahib /AFP/Getty Images.)

‘The Artist Must Taste Dark Water And See Wild Winds.’ (20)

‘Once the soul was perfect and had wings, it could sour into haven that only creatures with wings can be. But the soul lost its wings and fell to earth where it took an earthly body.  Now, while it lives in this body no outward sign of wings can be seen yet the roots of its wings are still there… And we see a beautiful woman or a man, the soul remembers the beauty it used to know in haven, and begins to spout and that makes the soul want to fly but it cannot yet it is still too weak so that man keeps staring up to the sky at a young bird, he lost all interest in the world around…’ (T. Malick, ‘The Knight Of Cups’)


© Gabriele Viertel, Merit Award of Best of Contemporary Photography 2015, Fort Wayne Museum



© Gabriele Viertel

What is the reason that a certain kind of art has got the ability to touch us deeply, move the roots of our humanity, steal our hearts, leave us breathless?  A sensational movie ‘The Knight Of Cups’ (2015) by Terence Malick and the  philosophical journey that I experienced thanks to it, brought some answers that I want to share with you.

In the movie there is poetry of existence; its unwieldiness  and spontaneity, rejecting mummified conventions and  structures foreign to it.The surrealism and paradox of choices made throughout the years. The phenomenon of life is in excess of every frame, yet Malick dares to leap into the flux and  follow its rhythms.

Floating in the water and diving ‘in the great divide’ has been one of very important, and reoccurring motifs of this Malick’s movie.

According to the major figure in the history of philosophy – Thales, water was the fundamental material of the universe, something out of which everything else could be formed. Something essential to life, and capable of motion and therefore – to change. And as we all know – water has been and will always be the inspiration not only for the philosophers or movie directors – but also for writers, poets and visual artist.

The unique, photo-like structure of the film I’ve recently seen,  brought to my mind ‘The Underwater Collection’ called ‘Follow Me To The Depths’ by fine Art Photographer Gabriele Viertel. I have seen those works many month ago – but the images kept ‘hanging on’ in my mind – and I knew the time will come when I come back to them.


(c) Gabriele Viertel

Few weeks ago I had the pleasure to meet  Gabriele  when I was in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. As a matter of fact her works have been appreciated and recognized worldwide, published by Vogue Italia, Cosmopolitan and the  Museum of Modern Art San Fransisco. Artists work is in the public collections of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana USA and the University of Art, Rotterdam NL as well as in various private collections.

Regardless of the international success and popularity – one thing is sure – Gabriele’s photography makes you stop and stare. It moves you in a unique way– inviting you to visit a different space where there is no time and where a perfect, strangely exciting  female beauty (femme fatale or an angel?) that approaches  you – in the movements that reminds you an elegant dance.

Looking into the photography by this German artist means a fascinating encounter with mystical creatures. The unworldly, underwater compositions bring to mind the artworks of the symbolists, the most famous Art Nouveau painters ( popular between 1890 and 1910), for example of  Fernand Khnopff or Franz von Stuck.


Franz Von Stuck, ‘The Dancers’, 1986, Private Collection

Similarly to the subject matters that were beautifully explored 100 years ago – Gabriele presents elegant, sublime and mystical women, making the viewer want to uncover the enigmatic truths hidden behind appearances.


Franz Von Stuck, ‘Sin’, 1893, Private Collection

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Franz Von Stuck , ‘Salome II’, 1906, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus – Munich  

Viertel’s art challenges the viewers what it is that they really see. Are the models the modern mermaids that live deep under the water or beautiful nymphs that are floating in the cosmic space? Or – perhaps, are they dancers that are too busy to notice the onlooker ?

The intense, sublime and introverted subject matters reflect Gabriele’s own personality – packed with ethereal energy, original talent and fresh ideas that come from fairy tales, the world of fashion (Gabriele used to be a catwalk model for the designers such as Dior or Karl Lagerfeld)  and fascination of the artist with the female beauty and classical dance styles.


(c) Gabriele Viertel

Before our my meeting I exchanged few mails with Gabriele and got to learn about more recent work.  What my eyes got to see were the sensational, very expressive underwater portraits of two female figures. This how the  images talked to me: ‘‘If we are to live exposed to one another, we must admit that part of our identity originates in our vulnerability’ (Achille Mhebe).


Fernand Knopff, Study for ‘Caress’, 1896

The mesmerizing beauty of the models made me think of the emotions their faces and gestures expressed. To me those artworks present an essence of ‘the togetherness and vulnerability’. We observe two beautiful creatures living happily in their underwater world,  caressing each other, telling each other secrets and stories. They are ‘at peace and harmony’, reaching the intimate closeness, physically and spiritually, sharing the pure and divine love that Malick beautifully spoke of in his movie:

You gave me peace. You gave me what the world can’t give. Mercy. Love. Joy. All else is cloud. Mist. Be with me. Always.’


(c) Gabriele Viertel


(c) Gabriele Viertel

When I  first came across the photos of Gabriele Viertel – I was so fascinated with it,  that I decided to show them to the Amsterdam based poet,  Elly de Waard . To my growing excitement Elly was very enthusiastic about the artworks that she did not know before and allowed me to publish one of her poems from the collection called ‘Nine poems from a sequence of eighty-two’ that I found very ‘corresponding’ with Viertels art.


So beautiful, the way her

Naked body leaps through the

Breakers, her breasts high, her arms

An extension of her back

Reach up. Beneath her skin like

Still never developed

Wings that want to open


Out I see her shoulder blades

Moving briskly. An un-

Disfigured Venus she is,

Rising from the marbled

Foam, alive. Ah, how sweet

The way her softness

Withstands the muscled waves! She

Holds her hands in front of the

Hollows with wiry hair. Rocks


Kneel down before her, resting

Against each other offering

The masterfully polished

Forms of their backs to

Her. In sculpting their masses


The polisher of the tides needed his

Eons, but nature was able

To create her perfection

In a brief thirty-one years.

(c) Elly de Waard


(c) Gabriele Viertel

There is no doubt – the Art by Gabriele Viertel does know how to put spell on your heart. It is like a beautiful, rare pearl at the bottom of the ocean waiting to be found. This art challenges you – telling you that the perfect beauty does exist. It encourages you to look beyond the surfaces and search for  the beauty that surrounds you in the ‘real world’. The atmosphere of a magical dream  brings delight, it makes you want to unfold the mystery that the life is full of.

So this is how art never ceases to amaze, teach and inspire us. The soul of an artist is a soul that has found its wings and does remember beauty, as if had no other choice:


‘I must see new things and investigate them.
I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds’ 

 Egon Schiele

‘It Is Not The Artists Who Speaks, But Life Within The Artist Who Has Much To Say.’(19)

‘The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do for anyone but inspire them?’ Bob Dylan

Few days ago, trying to chase away the ‘fall blues’, while having my morning coffee I have noticed that finally the sun was rising above the sky, which faintly promised for a pleasant weather for the rest of the week. Taking another sip of my latte – still feeling quite uninspired- I said to myself – ‘I wish something spectacular has happened’.

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When I opened my mailbox,  I’ve noticed that there was something  waiting for me there. It turned out that my blog had few new ‘followers’ which, of course, made me very happy. Among them there was an alert about a writer called Kim (author of  a very nice online read called ‘Peace, Love and Patchouli’).

As a faithful believer in low of attraction (‘ask, believe, receive and show gratitude’), I sensed instinctively  that I should pay a return visit to my new reader (zipsrid.wordpres To my delight, right there, at  Kims blog, I’ve found profound words by a poet and illustrator, Jan Walsh Anglund that I’ve found very meaningful and used for the title of my new post.

So now we know for sure. It is not the artist who speaks.

It is the ‘the life’ within the artist that has much to say.

‘Life’ is the very reason why creative people ask questions everyone else is too frightened to ask. The artist ‘speaks up’ to open the locked doors inside of peoples souls, to make the hearts grow, to help those who seek an emotional and spiritual survival.

As a matter of fact, the recent news on Nobel Prize in literature has been yet another great example where not the artist, but ‘life that speaks on his behalf, has been awarded.

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In a real world nobody would have ever consider giving a Noblel Prize in Literature to a rock star, a rebel in a leather jacket with a cigarette in his hand. But an inspired poet who speaks about ‘real life’ and the difficult times he lived in, ‘will do’. Absolutely, no shadow of doubt.

A poet, ladies and gentlemen,does classify for that kind or international recognition.

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As recently informed by international press, Bob Dylan has been distinguished with the most prestigious literary reward “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”.

Some conservatives and skeptics may wonder if the artistic ‘body of work’ of a music star should be equal to the work of writers such as Günter Grass, John M. Coetzee or Samuel Beckett? But if the art of Dylan changed peoples life’s and nurtured many generations long after his greatest popularity – why should we doubt his genius?

‘The Bob Dylan  Case’ has again convinced me that the real art does not like to ‘go by the book’. On the contrary, it prefers to stay unconventional,  unpredictable and sometimes even shocking. It is not ‘the theory’ but ‘life’ that  makes the art and artist win and stand out from the crowd.


Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘Dream II’, Private Collection

In my last post I promised to say more about Armando Alemdar Ara based on the conversation I had with the artist while in London. It is not accidental,  that I started my post from mentioning Bob Dylan, the poet and musician, as I came to the conclusion that both artists have got a lot in common. Even though they represent different art genres and use different tools and approach towards art.

What matters is that they are both poets (Armando is then ‘a silent poet’),  humanists and there is a mystery within their art. According to an article published in ‘The Guardian’ on the 13th of October:

‘Dylan’s lyrics reflect both deep nihilism about the human state of affairs and sometimes idealism about human encounters, one-on-one. Ever since the advent of the nuclear bomb, he has summed us up pretty well. He isn’t just a writer — he has a perspective.’

The same eclectic approach applies to the art of visual artist,  Armando Alemdar Ara.  He isn’t just a painter — he has a perspective of a philosopher, of somebody who has lived thousand years and understood the dilemmas and moral problems of humanity and knows how to ‘speak’ about them so they become more bearable. His art seeks idealism, in human form, in the energy that the body produces and spreads around.


Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘Ariadne’, Private Collection

The presence of ‘Life’ in Armando’s artworks brings to mind different masterpieces of greatest masters such as Michaelangelo or  Durer.

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         Michelangelo, ‘A Male Nude’, c. 1504-1505, Teylers Museum, Netherlands

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Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘The Challenge’, 2016, GX Gallery

If you look at that kind of paintings , you’ll feel tempted to identify yourself with the subject matter in the most ‘private’ way. It is something that touches the roots of your existence, just like the poetry does and lets them work their magic’.

Prometeus.jpgArmando Alemdar Ara, ‘Prometheus’ (Homage to Michelangelo), GX Gallery, London

During our fascinating conversation that took place in the heart of London, Armando explained where  his inspiration comes from:

‘I paint only the ideas that I have explored and learnt about. In my artworks I present concepts that have occupied me  for a long time and have been settled in my mind. As a matter of fact to develop an idea on canvas is a complex, lengthy process that is time-consuming almost like meditation.’

There was one particular painting, ‘Icarus’, that I found especially intriguing. This artwork successfully captures  a  very important part of human nature. The curiosity, the need of taking risks that sometimes might be stronger than ‘common sense’:

Falling Is also Flying 2015.jpgArmando Alemdar Ara, ‘Falling Is Also Flying’, 2015,  GX Gallery, London

Study for the Libyan.jpg       Michelangelo, ‘Study for the Libyan Sibyl’, 1511, Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)

testa-femminile-di-profilo-michelangeloMichelangelo, ‘Head Of A Young Man’, c. 1516, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK

‘If I choose Icarus, as a subject matter of my art, I think about the meaning of this myth with all its symbolical and philosophical implications, I bring my discoveries to a conclusion until I end up with a single concept. This abstract concept is the one I then challenge myself to transpose into canvas. When I get down to work on that painting, my mind might still be unsettled – and therefore I start asking myself questions such as “Did Icarus just fail because of his arrogance or was it just youthful ignorance? Could it not just have been an innate ambition of humankind to improve itself in a search of freedom? Could ‘falling’ be the same as ‘flying’? Isn’t the experience of failure necessary to reflect on our weaknesses and appreciate success later? Can I not paint this event as an empowerning, beautiful experience?”

When we talked about Armando’s art 10 years ago and how it has changed throughout the years – the artist revealed:

‘Back then I was in full flow of creation, painting and producing a lot of work. When I reflect on it now, it was perhaps too much work produced too quickly. Now I find myself revisiting some ideas that I had merely brushed over without sufficient thought and consideration. My exhibitions were sell out and maybe this affected the speed of my painting and development of ideas. For painting I used sketches from ballet and contemporary dancers during their rehearsals. This is after all how I developed my own style, by showing their energy and forms of movement as physicality equal or even more accentuated than their actual body.’

camille-italien2(c) Camille Litalien

I also wanted to learn more about the people who posed for  Armando’s artworks – that  point was also explained in detail by the artist:

‘There was one particular dancer that became my muse during that period, Camille Litalien (currently Assistant Professor of Dance and Movement at Utah State University’s Caine College of the Arts). I sketched hundreds if not thousands of drawings of her. As a matter of fact I rarely turned them into paintings, apart from 2 or 3. I used these drawings later for many paintings. The movement of her body was incredible and her mind understood my mind and what I wanted as an artist.’

camille-italien3(c) Camille Litalien

In the book that has been published by GX Gallery that Armando has given me some time ago there were two sketches that I found very powerful and striking –  ‘Abandon’ (2008) and ‘Hope’ (2005).

'Hope' 2015.jpg                      Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘Hope’, 2015, GX Gallery, London

As I learned later from the artist both artworks present the same muse – Camille.

‘I’ve done it very quickly’ – said Armando – ‘With just a few impassioned gestural lines that captured the essence of movement. I must say that I get the idea first, the abstract concept, e.g., ‘Hope’. Then I think how I could present that concept visually, which pose would be best. Camille knew this instinctively, to the core of her being, so she was able to embody each concept effortlessly, like a Mozart of dance.’

camille-italien1(c) Camille Litalien

At the end of our conversation I asked Armando, how would  define the act of painting:

Venus 2016.jpgArmando Alemdar Ara, ‘Venus’, 2016, GX Gallery, London

‘Painting for me is like meditation. The very act helps me notice my thoughts, and let them go. Sometimes I ‘see’ myself painting at the easel, I guess some would say, I leave my body. I ‘see’ my thoughts, how they come and go. I don’t do anything with them, my hand are moving as if  they did not depend on my mind. I don’t have to think about which color to choose next. After a while, the conclusions come naturally, by themselves, both into my mind and on the canvas. Everything is in a flow and movement.’ 

When I think of Armando’s work and poetry of Bob Dylan or  the work of any other artist – I can see the constant strive for perfect expression in poetry, in music, on canvas, the need to touch the core of our humanity – as ‘that element’ that brings the artistic work to the next level.

It is the journey to find the right pose, the right stroke, the right word or note that matters and  which makes the work valuable. It is the movement of ‘Life’ that the artist whispers trough the chosen medium of expression : ‘The floor is yours, teach me, I am listening’.


(c) Nacho Ormecha Photography

It is the act of  breaking through the limitations of body and mind, it is accepting the challenge and taking risk even if one could fall:

‘If after out death they want to transform us into any tiny withered flame that walks along the paths of winds- we have to rebel.

 What good is an eternal leisure on the bosom of air, in the shade of yellow halo, amid the murmur of two dimensional choirs? One should enter the rock, wood, water, the cracks of gate. Better to be the cracking of floor than shrilly transparent perfection’.

Zbigniew Herbert, Polish Poet  (translated by Czeslaw Milosz – Nobel Prize winner in Literature, 1980)


(c) Zbigniew Herbert

‘Capturing The Intangible, Ethereal and Spiritual Element of Human Form.'(18)

‘Without a tradition, art is flock of sheep, without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.’ Winston Churchill

I am sure the most of you are able to recall this classic tale from Greek mythology: asked to find goddess Demeter hiding in a cave, Pan, an avid hunter, prefers to roam the forests of Arkadia in search of game — where he unwittingly falls upon Demeter.

Orpheus And Eurediece, 2015.jpg

Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘ORPHEUS AND EUREDICE’, 2014, GX Gallery, London

Looking closer at our lives, we can easily notice that the old tales and stories are the perfect mirror of the universal truths. In fact – during our lives, we often find something of great value and importance (something that we needed and dreamed of for a long time) only once we finally give up and stopped looking. Isn’t this ironic?

Some people call it luck,  but in fact it is serendipity –  a phenomenon to be found in the biographies of  the world’s most famous scientists and discoverers such as Alfred Nobel, Louis Pasteur, Christopher Columbus or Wilhelm Roentgen. The common factor in serendipitous scientific discoveries is that they were all “made by individuals able to see bridges where others saw holes”. The impossible becomes possible when we accept the truth that was beautifully expressed by Seneca: ‘The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach.’  


Armando Alemdar Ara, Lilith, 2016,GX Gallery, London

In my case, since I am constantly in search for the nuances in the world of art – I have been looking out for ‘the fresh air’, something that would become ‘one of my greatest blessings’  that I could then, share with my readers. To be more specific – I really wanted to find an artist that would be able visualize the invisible, the inner form, energy that is there within us and around us.

Adam II.jpg

Armando Alemdar Ara, ADAM II (HOMAGE TO ANDRE DURAND), 2016, GX Gallery

Moving further, I was especially interested in exploring if a piece of art could become a bridge to a thought-provoking, philosophical dialogue, bring us to nirvana – that is the transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, where one is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth?


Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘Hope’, 2014,GX Gallery, London

My question was, is it  actually possible for a contemporary artist to unify the past with the present time, bring together ‘the classical’  and ‘modern’ art’ in a way that ‘fits’ the taste the of modern audience, so deeply fascinated by minimalism and abstract paintings?



‘Embrace’, GX Gallery, London

As you may already have guessed, the answer came unexpectedly, when I was occupied with something that had absolutely nothing to do with art. In fact, back then, I was searching on the internet for the translated fairy tales for my 2-years old niece, by the Dutch writer Herman Dirk that I wanted to buy her for her upcoming birthday. It is important to emphasize that the artistic name of the author I was looking for was Armando.

When I inserted that name into the browser – somehow ‘Uncle Google’ made me land at the website of the London based visual artist known as Armando Alemdar Ara.


This way my unsuccessful online shopping made me spot something precious that I might otherwise – never have discovered.



Armando Alemdar Ara,’Icarus’, 2011, GX Gallery, London

I must admit that for the first time in my life I have found artworks that were the visual form of  the values that I have always admired and searched for in art. I was absolutely stunned by the paintings that were as deep, as poetical and emotionally charged as the essays and speeches of my favorite, British philosopher Alan Watts.

Alan Watts Image.jpg

Alan Watts, 1915-1973,  (british philosopher, writer and speaker)

What is the bottom line of the Armando’s art? What makes him unique and exceptional?

I’d start from the artist intention, his honesty and generosity to invite the onlooker to join him in a deep, contemplative intellectual confession. Further there is a quality – that Alan Watts named in his speech on ‘art of living’ – that is the artist ‘sensitivity, the ability to have the mind open and wholly receptive’.

The Call.jpg

Armando Alemdar Ara,’The Call’, 2015, GX Gallery, London

For me, personally, seeing the art of  Armando – was discovering the dual aspect, the complexity of our humanity (the sphere of our inner ‘contrasts’ –  sacrum and profanum,),tasting the state of nirvana, enjoying ‘the now’  without forgetting the past.

Longing, 2013-14.jpg

Armando Alemdar Ara,’Longing’, 2013-14, GX Gallery, London

There is the unquestionable harmony of forms and colors that delights and makes the paintings strikingly beautiful. But  more importantly,  while looking at the artworks one may feel inspired contemplate on human condition. The fact that there is so much greatness within us, that we all need to love and be loved but at the same time we tend to be furious, violent and aggressive. The fact that people are full of paradoxes, strong and invincible but also doubtful, fragile and vulnerable. The paintings of Armando show that human beings  are one the one hand perfect divine creations – and, on the other hand – also so erratic and sinful, unable to avoid constant ‘raise and fall’.


Armando Alemdar Ara,’Amor Heroes’, 2013, GX Gallery, London


Armando Alemdar Ara,’Amor Heroes’, 2013, GX Gallery, London

Thrilled and overwhelmed by my exceptional discovery I decided to connect with Armando first via LinkedIn, then arranged a short meeting with him next time I was in London. In truth, the concept of  seeing the painter in person – sat on the horizon, strange and unattainable. But this is what I was really after. I wasn’t sure if our tight schedules will allow us to make this meeting happen. For all I knew, meeting Armando was one of the things in life that you simply have to give a go. Whatever timeline the artist was about to ask of me, I was destined to say yes even if I had to postpone other appointments that I had planned for the day.


Armando Alemdar Ara,’Awakening’, 2016, GX Gallery, London

The short meeting with the painter and art historian at one of the London’s café was something I will never forget. There was a certain electricity in the air during our conversation that activated all my senses . The discussion with the artist was spellbinding, mind-opening and inspiring. Actually wished I could be one of his art students that had the opportunity to learn from the great artist at the  university ( I was delighted to notice that during our conversation Armando actually called his students  in the sweetest and most loving way, that is ‘my children’.)

The things I remember most from the meeting were Armando’s kindness, the warmth of his voice, his contagious enthusiasm and energy, the eagerness to share his passion and genuine love for the art and the humanity. In fact all those virtues have already been beautifully encapsulated in all of his paintings. The questions I asked and the very thoughtful answers that the artist had given to me during our conversation could be found in my next post.

What was it like to meet Armando Alemdar Ara? My experience could be compared to having a coffee with an inspired spiritual leader, the head of a new church who introduced me to a new, intriguing belief. The name of the new artistic religion was Neomodernism – that Armando, the co-founder of artistic movement explains on ‘the manifesto’ on his website:

‘Neomodernism – espouses spiritual and aesthetic values in art. It is also a philosophy of art, a way of looking and creating a new relationship with works of art from the 15th to the 20th century. The movement cuts through the media hype surrounding old master and modernist works of art, labels that have blinded the public – not to say made it hostile – to these works’ Neomodern message.’


Armando Alemdar Ara, PROMETHEUS (HOMAGE TO MICHELANGELO), 2015, GX Gallery

Armando’s artworks,created in 21st century  – represent very innovative and characteristic style (neomodernism), at the same time naturally and intentionally reach out to old traditions of art history. The artist does not cut off from the past, contrary to many contemporary painters. For him the classical art  seem to be the very much needed ambrosia, ‘the natural, mother’s milk’ that nourishes and energizes his canvases, making them powerful and harmonious. Similarly to the scientists that I mentioned earlier in this post, Armando is able to ‘see bridges where others see holes’. He promotes the dynamics, the evolution of life and art and encourages to search for the happiness and tranquility that has its source deep inside of human soul.  The paintings emanate the cosmic and everlasting energy that is ‘around and within us’.

Fugit Amor.jpg

Armando Alemdar Ara, ‘Fugit Amor’, 2013, GX Gallery

What I find most moving and overwhelming in Alemdar Ara artworks,  is how the visual expression becomes his  voice that could be heard and understood by anyone who looks at his canvases, regardless of age, nationality, believes or status. That voice of the artist is full of love, tenderness and compassion and it seems to echo the words of Seneca, that there is no time to lose, that life is there to enjoy:

“Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.” 
― Seneca

* To learn more about Armando’s art you may visit his official website:  and the website of the GX Gallery that represents the artists work:


‘Art Is Either A Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All’ (17)

‘On the ridge where great artist moves forward, every step is an adventure, an extreme risk. In that risk however and only there, lays the freedom of Art’. Albert Camus

There are artworks that you would look at it and feel unsettled; you would look at it and wonder about its meaning, and something in you would be moved, without you knowing why.


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Christina’s World’, 1948, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

And this was exactly how I felt, while I was first introduced to the thrilling art of American realist painter, Andrew Wyeth. It was the discussion that I had with the talented poet living in Maine, US about the iconic painting called ‘Christina’s World’ (MET),  that lead me to the exceptional collection by the same author, known as ‘The Helga Pictures’.

The series of paintings that I discovered few months ago caused certain restlessness in my mind – a feeling that kept me awake at night.  While I was looking at the artworks again this week – there was a song by Matt Simon on the radio, that made me grasp the obvious:

‘There’s a place I go to

Where no one knows me

It’s not lonely

It’s a necessary thing’

RoomAndrew Wyeth, ‘Her Room’, 1982


Andrew Wyeth, ‘The Wind From The Sea’, 1947

Now, let’s think of a place that puts everything else aside, a place that once found, shall never be abandoned.  A place that we choose to stay in, as it feels like the only place on earth that where we could truly be ourselves.


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Day Dream’, 1980

I think you’ve might already have noticed that Whyeth’s art has the ability to bring one to that kind of place. ‘Helga Pictures’ are the provocative bridge leading to the exclusive world created and reserved just for two. There is an American  poet, Red Shuttleworth, that in his poem ‘Happy Birthday Andrew Wyeth’ beautifully described the ‘electricity’ and  highest intimacy between the artist and his blonde muse:

‘Borrowed attic, autumnal field: Helga comes
thirsty… drinks plain iced tea from your cup.
You speak of distant stars or newspaper
delivery boys… only Helga on the bed knows,
turning over and over, droplets of sweat
dampening an off-white Montgomery Wards
cotton sheet.  Her secret. Your secret.’

You might be wondering now why are those paintings so intoxicating,  misterious and moving?  The truth is that only looking deeply into the relationship of the painter could explain all that remains invisible at first glance.


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Self Portrait’, 1949

While gathering information about Wyeth, I was especially interested in revealing the artists ‘secret weapon’ that pierces the onlooker heart with an ache of longing and recognition.

The beauty of Helga portraits lies in the harmony and exceptional trust that was there between the artist and his muse.  Wyeth celebrated quietly being in Helga’s presence, watching her breathe, sit, sleep, exist.  The ‘dazzling Prussian girl’, as the painter used to call his muse, regularly ‘barricaded herself’ in the secondary reality that was accessible only for her and the inspired artist. Place that felt like asylum and ‘run away’ from all that’s ordinary, usual and deprived of magic.

Astonishingly enough, the artist has never really intended to show his works publicly. This is what he confirmed during the only interview ‘on Helga Matter’ that he has ever had:

 ‘My intention was to keep ‘em hidden away until I died’, he says, ‘Then they could be revealed’.


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Braids’, 1979

Crown Of Flowers.JPG

Andrew Wyeth, ‘Crown Of Flowers’, 1974

In fact, over the span of 15  Wyeth created 240 artworks keeping it all secret and away from the public eye. As I learned from a  little book written by Thomas Hoving, a former director of Metropolitan Museum of Art –  the only person who has ever interviewed the artist on his controversial ‘artistic process’, Wyeth, believed that he could never have finished ‘The Helga Pictures’ without the public peering over his shoulder. Therefore, he did not reveal their existence to anyone, not even his wife, until the series was completed.

In my opinion Andrew Wyeth was a kind of artist who created either while in love, or did not create all. There was no other force on earth that could make him paint a masterpiece without having the heart engaged in the process.  Similarly to Picasso – Wyeth couldn’t run away from the influence of Eros on his life.


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Night Shadow’, 1979


‘Wild blonde hair, most often in pigtails,
no silly grins, her full breasts, farm-fit body
summer-moist… she lets you,
roughly-handedly, at-first,
position her for the immortality
of sugar-loaded light.’

 As the artist he explained during the interview with Hoving:

‘I knew right away that I wanted this relationship- if it worked- to be a secret. Because I didn’t want anyone to know that I have fallen deeply in love. (…) ‘The difference between me and a lot of painters is that I have to have a personal contact with my models. I don’t mean a sexual love, I mean real love. Many artists tell me they don’t even recall the names of their models. I have to fall in love with mine – hell, I do much the same with tree or a dog. I have to become enamored. Smitten. That’s what happened when I saw Helga walking up the Kuerner’s lane. She was this amazing, crushing blonde.’

Seabed, 1980.jpgAndrew Wyeth, ‘Seabed’, 1980

Helga, on the other hand,  turned out to be the this persistent, restless and most patient model that any artist could dream of. She understood the importance of her role, was discreet, deeply engaged with her whole being in the process of creation.

When I thought about the circumstances in which the exceptional artworks were painted- I can almost see how Andrew  kissed Helga when she entered his house in the evenings. How they sat down, how everything fell into place. I can almost hear Andrew’s words before getting down to work on their first painting, how he pressed his lips together on a smile, feeling the happiness and excitement rise within him, stronger than the fear.

With every new painting – the affection was growing – the feeling was deeper.

‘I don’t know who I am anymore, except with you’ – must have been Andrews words while talking to Helga, or ‘To love is to be alive. In death there is none of this.’

No doubt, there was obsession and deep need to be loved in return between the two lost souls. There was also sadness and loneliness by every ‘goodbye’ that Andrew recalled during the interview – there was this ‘catching and releasing’ that went on till the end of Wyeth’s life.

When the artist wife was asked what she thought of the relationship of her husband with the model, she replied, “All I see is love.”


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Lovers’, 1981

There was also this rare, unique ‘mutual understanding’ that only real soulmates could achieve, something that made it all work:

 ‘If I’d see a good pose, something that enthralled me, I’d say “Stay there.”. And she would- for hours.(…) ‘I deliberately did Helga in all times of the year and weather. Outdoors and indoors. Helga says we lived outdoors – she joked that it was like living with Robin Hood’.


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Refugee’, 1985


Andrew Wyeth, ‘Cape Coat’, 1982

According to the artist – Helga Testorf was the only viewer and curator of Wyeths paintings for 15 years, before ‘the word got out and all hell broke loose.’


I found it truly fascinating to get an insight into the artist’s explanation how he felt about the entire collection:

 ‘Hey, they weren’t paintings to me,  but attempts to discover something about this lady. They were a complex, mental process. The heart of Helga series was that I was trying to unlock my emotions in capturing her essence, in getting her humanity down onto a panel or two. The medium didn’t matter. I didn’t care if they were drawings, watercolors, drybrush hers, temperas. I didn’t sign them until they were all completed because that wasn’t what I was interested in.’

The interview by Howing that I’ve read made me realize that it was Helgas kindness, intelligence, her gentle heart and deep sympathy for Wyeth encouraged the artist to carry on, to set his spirit free:

‘When I saw she wasn’t nervous any longer, I asked if I could make drawings of her without her blouse. She didn’t mind at all’

When you look at many paintings from the collection you could see how comfortable Helga felt with the role of a model. The peace and harmony that emanate from the paintings are moving and so convincing, even though we know she had to be a part of two worlds.

The highly insightful, sensitive ‘The Helga Pictures’ are considered Andre Wyeth’s most remarkable achievement. Those artworks create a testimony of trust, love and real intimacy between artist and his muse. The secret beauty of those artworks may lay in the deep affectionate feeling, masterfully translated it into a universal, visual language of art.

The collection is not only a fascinating journey into the painters heart and soul and his secret life. It  is also a proof that – both for the creators and the admirers, the art could become the greatest escape. The daring adventure, ‘the necessary thing’, the place where anything is possible and where, just like in the song, ‘one could reveal life’s mystery.’

Sleep Study

Andrew Wyeth, ‘Sleep, Study’

‘Art That Does Have The Power To Save Lives’(16)

‘I believe in the healing power of the arts, and whenever anyone can bring art into anyone’s life, it’s a special thing.’ Austin Nichols

There’s no deny – we live in the material world. While auctioneers, art  dealers and art collectors worldwide are busy with searching for most valuable artworks that are available for sale (Art Business is indeed a growing and exciting business sector) – unfortunately, there isn’t much said about the spiritual, healing, empowering and inspiring value of art.

Gleneause  REH GAlleries

Jules Breton, ‘Studies for  Gleneuse’, Paris Salon, 1989, Private Colletion, sold by Rehs Galleries

As a matter of fact there are artworks that have the power of saving life. And these are not just ‘empty words’– I can actually prove this statement by coming up with a certain example.

Recently, while surfing online and looking for latest news about one of my favorite American actor I came across something quite interesting that I’ve never read before. The title of the article that I’ve found online looked quite promising – ‘This Is The Painting That Saved Bill Murray’s Life’.

Bil Murray

Bill Murray, Scene from ‘Lost In Translation’, move by Sophie Copolla, 2003

Usually I don’t judge the book by its cover or post by its title – but this time I knew for sure that the story going to be an amazing and unforgettable read.

What I stroke me at first was that the information that the first serious audition on stage of the young, ambitious and very talented Bill Murray, simply did not go well. If we now assume that the life of every human being consists of ‘ups and downs’ – the article described the very moment in time when the future ‘Lost In Translation’ star faced his first serious  ‘breakdown’.

The fact that Murray did not ‘make it’ during an important audition caused suicidal thoughts in his head. According to Huffington post article – the actor headed toward Lake Michigan thinking, “If I’m going to die, I might as well go over toward the lake and float a bit.” Before he reached the water, however, he arrived at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Song Of the Lart, The Art Institute Of Chicago, 1884.jpg

Julets Breton, ‘Song Of The Larks’, 1884, The Art Institute Of Chicago

This is where the young artist  saw “The Song of the Lark,” a painting that truly moved him and made him re-think the desperate decision he just made.

Song Of The Lark, Detail, 1884,

Jules Breton, ‘Song Of The Larks’, Detail,  1884, The Art Institute Of Chicago

The ‘extremely meaningful’ painting that  might have saved Bill Murrays life– was created by Jules Breton, the 19th-century French realist painter who by many art critics is described as  ‘Great visual poet of idyllic rural existence’. As was the case with works by Bouguereau and Gérôme, Breton’s paintings were very popular and avidly collected by Americans. Very often, due to the high demand, Breton had to copy many of his artworks.


‘Song Of The Larks’ depicts a young peasant woman working in a field at sunrise. The title of the painting could be also interpreted as the painters indication to the figure of Joanna d’Arc – the heroin, saint and personification of female strength, persistence, sacrifice and holy spirit.

Murray, during a conference in London, where he promoted ‘The Monuments Men’  explained‘ how the painting gave him new hope. He said: “I thought, ‘Well there’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun’s coming up anyway and she’s got another chance at it.’ So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and I get another chance every day the sun comes up.”

Truly inspired by the authentic story of my favorite actor I decided to study Bretons paintings and choose one, that would become my own ‘motivator’ – the piece of art that will give me strength to ‘go on’ in difficult times.

jules_adolphe_aimc3a9_louis_breton_-_returning_from_the_fields_-_walters_3758.jpgJules Breton, ‘Returning from the fields’, 1871, Walters Art Museum – Baltimore


Jules Breton, ‘The end of working day’, 1886-1887, The Brooklyn Museum


Jules Breton, ‘Women going to procession’, 1890, Private Collection

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Jules Breton, ‘The Weeders’,1860, The Metopolitan Museum Of Art

Jules Breton WOman Alseep On Hay

Jules Breton, ‘Woman Alseep On Hay’, 1866, Private Collection

After a while I finally made my choice – it was Calling in the Gleaners, painting from 1876 where Jules Breton represented an ordinary scene of peasant life in Courrières, his native village in Artois. The painter has not shown there the gleaners at work, as Jean-François Millet had done two years before, but leaving the fields. What did he choose to capture that particular moment, in the late afternoon?  We can attribute this to the fact that he wanted the onlookers to pay attention to ‘the moment of glory’, that could be enjoyed by those who are able to wait, are continuously persistent, and do their work restlessly, with dignity, with their head up high – as if they were not peasants, but royal guards.

calling-in-the-gleaners-jules-bretonJules Breton, ‘The Recall Of Gleaners’, 1859, Musée d’Orsay  (France – Paris)

What I find exceptionally moving in that Breton’s masterpiece are the emotions written on the working women faces. Their life is full of purpose. They set a goal in the early morning hours and they work hard towards achieving it. What is more, the women’s faces  seem to already envision their reward, the well-deserved evening meal, their night rest and sleep. The artwork ‘speaks to me’ because of the beautiful composition, the harmonic colors – but most importantly – because of the fact that the artist paid this way a tribute to a very hard work of labors, that as everything in life, finally comes to an end.  Through idealizing and glorifying ‘simple work’ Breton made the world pay attention to the ‘ordinary life of ordinary people’ that deserve admiration and respect.


Jules Breton, ‘The Recall Of Gleaners’, Detail, 1859, Musée d’Orsay  (France – Paris)

‘Calling the Gleaners’ was initially exhibited at the Château de Saint Cloud, it was given by the Emperor to the Musée du Luxembourg in 1862, known at the time as the Musée des Artistes Vivants. Today it could be admired at Musée d’Orsay.

When I was reading about Breton – there was one, thrilling information regarding the artist other talents.  Namely, I’ve found out that the French painter was not only a visual artist but also an inspired poet and a role model for other great artists of his time. For instance, Vincent Van Gogh mentioned the surname Breton 7 times in his Letters to his brother Theo. There is one letter that 22 years old Dutch painter wrote and where he recalled the meeting with family Breton, his poetry and art:

Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh

Paris, 31 May 1875

Dear Theo,

Thanks for the letter I received this morning. Yesterday I saw the Corot exhibition. In it was the picture, “The Garden of Olives”; I am glad he painted that. To the right, a group of olive trees, dark against the glimmering blue sky; in the background, hills covered with shrubs and a few large ivy-grown trees over which the evening star shines.


Some time ago I saw Jules Breton with his wife and two daughters. His figure reminded me of J. Maris, but he had dark hair. As soon as there is an opportunity I will send you a book of his, Les Champs et la Mer, which contains all his poems. He has a beautiful painting at the Salon, “St. John’s Eve.” Peasant girls dancing on a summer evening around a St. John’s fire; in the background, the village with a church and the moon over it.

St Johns Eve 2.jpg

Dansez, dansez, oh jeunes filles,

En chantant vos chansons d’amour,

Demain pour courir aux faucilles,

Vous sortiez au petit jour.

There are now three artworks of his at the Luxembourg: “A Procession among the Cornfields,” “Women Gleaning” and “Alone.” À Dieu.


Vincent van Gogh,Self Portrait With Dark Felt Hat, 1886, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Vincent van Gogh,Self Portrait With Dark Felt Hat, 1886, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

If we look closer at entire collection of Bretons work – we would notice one common pattern. Namely – that in striving for excellence,  it is essential to have the sincere love for everything that you do in life. The love for art of French Realist and his need to transmit the idyllic vision of rural existence are unquestionable. And this is what we should learn from.

Is it work on the field, is it writing speeches for the politicians, is it selling cars, building houses or creating an artwork– if you do your work it with dedication, commitment and ‘affection’ for your very own ‘subject matter’ that you ‘portray’  – this is when you give ‘the real service’ to the world.

Gleaner (Glaneuse), 1894 by Jules Breton.jpg

Jules Breton, ‘The Gleaner, 1884, Private Collection

If Jules Breton was still alive, I am sure he would be pleased to hear that his paintings still inspire,  as he created art so powerful and truly moving – that it has the ability to save peoples live.

To people like myself, Bil Murray or to many of you who read this post now – there is no need to explain that there  were, there are and there always  will  be artworks that speak straight to the heart – telling you things the American poet , Eileen Miles wrote beautifully about:

‘I hope you like your work, I hope there is poetry and mystery in your life – not even poems, but patterns. I hope you can see them. Often, these patterns, wake you up, and you will know, that you are alive, again and again’

Jules Adolphe Breton, Self Portrait, 1883, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums

Jules Adolphe Breton, Self Portrait, 1883, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums



‘Travelling (into the world of Art) Makes The Heart Grow Fonder'(15)

‘As in nature, so in art, so in grace – it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones their luster’ Thomas Gurthie

There is a popular English proverb saying ‘Travelling broadens the mind’. Frankly, I don’t think there is anybody who could disagree with this statement. The more you travel – the more you start to appreciate and understand  the astonishing colors of the world, all the different cultures, customs, architecture and languages.

Last but not least – you get to learn a lot about yourself, since while travelling – you face situations and meet people that you would otherwise, meet only in your dreams.

But then, on the other hand – there is another saying ‘The absence makes the heart grow fonder’ .

The people, the surroundings that we are attached to, have the unique ability to makes us feel homesick, ‘miss’, causing some kind of nostalgia and melancholy that does not necessarily have to be negative.

I must admit – my voyages are an integral, invaluable part of my life – as they enable me to leave ‘the old, well known world’  behind,  so I can open my mind for the blessings of ‘terra incognita’. If you are into discovering new places l the same way I do –  you couldn’t possibly get demotivated by delayed flights or long queues at the airports.

The truth is that once you reach your travel destination, ‘safe and sound’ – the uncomfortable moments become irrelevant. All that matters are the things that are waiting for you ‘on the new territory’.


I guess many of you will agree with me that there are places on this earth that you have for sure never seen before, but when you visit them – they cause a ‘strangely familiar’ feeling. Some kind of ‘de ja vu’. They leave in your heart  ‘a sweet sentiment’ – and make you want to visit them again and again.


Last month, when I’ve been to London for Business,  I couldn’t  stop myself from visiting some art galleries  with antiques based on South Audley Street. According to my online research I could find there the most magnificent collections of  paintings, ceramics, furniture, lightenig, clocks and silver and ivory jewelry available for sale in Europe. Without hesitating much – I entered the London Tube and with excitement got off on Bond Street.


When I entered the MayFair Gallery I was surprised with its actual size – as from the outside it did not seem very specious. But once I was surrounded by all splendid pieces of art there was one thing that stroke me loud and clear. Namely that the artworks of the gallery were arranged  in a way that they seemed to be a decoration of some luxury, private apartment owned by  19th century English Duke or a Prince. Quite transcendent experience indeed.

As my gaze was moving slowly from one artwork to another, suddenly I  stopped and held my breath.  It was  because of the a nude portrait by Italian artist Natale Schiavioni that presented ‘an ultimate catch’; a dazzling, dark-haired and dark eyed young woman, reclining comfortably – ‘offering herself’ and looking at me as if she was trying to tell me something.

mayfair gallery picture

That painting made me think of  Francisco Goyas “Nude Maya”. However there was one big difference. The  gaze of the sitter I looked at  was not only straightforward and unashamed like the one by renowned Maya – but also sweet, coquettish and self-confident. Additionally – there was something captivating about her eyes. Nowadays, similar ‘spark ‘ could be  found on the photography of  famous celebrities – actresses such as Audrey Tatou,  Penelope Cruz or Monica Belucci.

Standing with the portrait  ‘face to face’ offered me an explanation why ages ago the kings or princes could fall in love in a woman they’ve known only from an artwork. Things of such high artistic acumen have got an unique ability to put spell on the onlooker. The magic happens before you get to count to three.

Natale Schiavioni, Portrait of Fenny Essler,  ca. 1839, MayFair Gallery

Natale Schiavioni, ‘Portrait of Fenny Elssler’,  ca. 1839, MayFair Gallery

As I learned later from the conversation with the gallery manager Jamie Sinai – this particular painting turned out to be one of the ‘most significant gallery treasures’. It needs to be emphasized that the artwork that I found so overwhelming presented the famous, 19th century  ‘international idol’.  To be more specific – a celebrated Austrian dancer called Fanny Elssler.

As I learned later that lady was an unattainable object of desire of thousands and millions of admirers of her time.

goy.jpgFrancisco Goya, ‘La maja desnuda’,  c. 1797–1800,  Museo del Prado, Madrid.

When I returned to my hotel that day, still in awe of all that I’ve seen – I could not wait to read more about the Venetian master and see his other works.

Natale Schiavioni, ca. 1820, The Sleeper

Natale Schiavioni, ca. 1820, The Sleeper

It did not come as a surprise when I’ve found out that  Natale, throughout his lifetime was closely connected to royal families that commissioned many of his artworks.  In 1816 the artists has been invited by Austrian emperor to become the official portraitist of the court.  All because of his distinguishing  talent and specific preferences – as his paintings presented the stunning beauties modeled on the Renaissance ideals which was in high demand in 19th century, especially among royals.

Portrait of Three Maidens

Natale Schiavioni ‘Three Maidens’

The essence of Schiovani’s  art was beautifully encapsulated by Pietro Selvatico: ‘In coloring, highly skillful, but in shading, inimitably supreme.’

Another important feature of Natale portraits was his interest in the personality and character of his sitters. He  wasn’t clearly satisfied with presenting pretty mannequins without a soul. To him, beauty alone,  wasn’t  enough. He aimed to intrigue the onlooker with his art. When I contemplated on the paintings  such as ‘Jealousy’, ‘Sadness’, ‘Portrait of A Lady’  or ‘Melancholy’,  I  had no doubt that the Venezian painter was not only a connoisseur of  classical beauty,  but also a rare expert of the souls and hidden corners of female psyche.

Natale Schiavioni 'Letter' Emotions.jpg

Natale Schiavioni, ‘Jelousy’, Private Collection

Natale Schiavioni , Portrait of  a Lady, Private Collection.jpg

Natale Schiavioni , Portrait of  a Lady, Private Collection

Natale Schiavioni 'Sadness'

Natale Schavioni, ‘Sadness’

When I fell asleep that night, I had no idea that next thing I’ll see after waking up  would be the interior of Palazzo Giustanani, a place where Natale Schiavioni led the life of a painter prince. Everything happened before there was time to think about it.  I examined quickly the atelier and the new situation and I knew that since I am transferred into the 19th century Italy, I will most probably have to allow the painter to carry on his artistic process.


-So, belissima – said the artists, with his big brown eyes fixed on mine– have you already made up your mind of  how are we going to proceed with the painting?

-Pardon? – I asked quite shocked,  both by the tone in which Schiavioni was speaking to me, as well as by the vocabulary he used. First of all, I wasn’t his belissima, and secondly, I had no idea what did he actually want from me.

-We have been through this before – he answered clearly impatient –  would you allow me to paint you without this silly cloth covering your body?

– Excuse my vocabulary sir, but I don’t understand your intention. What’s the point? Would you show all your cards to the players before the game was even started?

Dancer Fanny Elssler performing fandango dance step, Engraving, Historisches Museum Der Stadt Wien..jpg

Dancer Fanny Elssler performing fandango dance step, Engraving, Historisches Museum Der Stadt Wien.

It was hard for me to persuade the artist that there was nothing to be gained from trying to talk me into his idea.

-Allright, allright. I won’t ask you anymore, let it be – answered Natale,  seemingly disappointed with my answer – ‘But you should consider yourself lucky. Most of the women would give anything to make sure I’ll paint them.’

As Myrtha, Colored Lithograph, Engr. by J.Bouvier, 1843.jpg

As Myrtha, Colored Lithograph, Engr. by J.Bouvier, 1843

– ‘Lucky’ – I thought to myself – as if it had all fallen to my lap. Fame, international recognition, shows all over the world. In fact I wasn’t the first the best ballerina or another jumped-up noble he got to host in his fancy palace. The truth was that I could charm anyone, if necessary, I had my network, my connections and people who stood behind me.

When I assumed we were finished – Natale added looking me straight into the eye – You think I haven’t heard the rumors?

What never ceased to amaze me was how much those supposedly clever, worldly men underestimated women like me. Of course I knew very well where was he coming from.

-What rumors? – I asked the artists with  the curiosity that only a skilled actress could express the way I did.

-I have heard about you and diplomat Mr Friedrich von Gentz, a man that maight as well be your grandfather . I suppose he is more than just another friend of yours?

– Well, first of all sir – my private matters are none of your business. I do have my reasons to feel grateful to Sir Friedrich for his faith in me, his generous support, introducing me to the people who knew how should I develop my talents..

– Yes indeed, I have no doubt you are a lady of many talents. But how would you explain me this –  said Natale taking a beautifully decorated envelope from the inside of a book laying on the floor in his ateleier and begun reading the letter that started with a poem by St. Therese of Lisieux :

‘“To live of love, it is to know no fear. No memory of past faults can I recall. No imprint of my sins remaineth here. The fire of love divine effaces all. O sacred flames! O furnace of delight! I sing my safe sweet happiness to prove, in these mild fires I dwell by day, by night. I live of love!”

You,  Natale you are the artist – so you should know better what is that  my soul is looking for. I need to you to paint my Fanny as mysterious  goddess of worldly pleasures, capture her beauty. I want an artwork  that will allow me  to  read that touching the skin of my marvelous jewel is like skimming a fingertip over warm milk. I don’t want a portrait. I want a promise, a declaration of love that will tease, mesmerize my senses with the endless beauty.’

I looked at Natale with big eyes like somebody who did not understand a word. All I knew was that, regardless of the circumstances,  I should act gracious, delighted and kind. The portrait that was supposed to be  a birthday present for Friedrich and who was the only person who truly cared about me in the most difficult moments of my career.

– He who excuses himself, accuses himself – I said after a while of uncomfortable silence- Having this said –I continued without a blink-  you need to understand kind sir,  that I have my reasons to want my dear friend and patron to look favorably on me. From what I can see now, there is a lot you could learn from him. For example how a  real gentlemen should deal with a sure-footed and sleek women who knows their worth.

– ‘You are indeed something else, Fanny’ – said Schiavioni smiling and scratching his chin in amusement,  like he was contemplating on some sort of miracle –  You’re not only smart  and sophisticated but you’re also brave to speak your mind. I have never met anyone like you. – he added-  What can I say  my gracious angel – it seems that it is true that fortune favors the brave.

-Fortune is a fickle, dear Natale, you should never forget that – I smiled back at the “Il pittore delle grazie’’ having the last word, quite relieved that the artist was no longer upset and shall carry on the work on the portrait that I expected to be beautiful and alluring. It is not only the people, the actors and dancers that act on stage. There are certain paintings that have an important role to play as well and Schiavioni knew it now better than anyone else.

When he painted me in silence, in my head I recalled the words of Scottish philanthropist  Thomas Guthrie  ‘As in nature, so in art, so in grace – it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones their luster’.







‘The French Successor of Pre-Raphaelites And Great Admirer Of Roses‘(14)


‘…In our life there is a single color, as on artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.’

Mark Chagall, From ‘Newsweek’, April 8, 1985

Whenever I analyzed and studied the existing artistic achievements of contemporary visual artists or ‘the old masters’, there was often not more than one or two reoccurring motifs, something very characteristic, that revealed the preferences of the given artist. The one, favorite ‘subject matter’ of a painter or a photographer is often chosen according to the one’s sensitivity or interests. Let’s take as an example the contemporary French painter, Elisabeth Landzberg  whose artworks have been recently presented in Paris during  the “Art  Shopping” or in New York during Art Expo. The endless source of inspiration for this artist are undoubtedly the colorful spring and summer flowers, the stunning butterflies and the green leaves and sprays.  While painting it all the artists pays tribute to the overwhelming beauty of the nature, and in fact, she does it in a masterful way.

Then, going further, there is another artist, an American photographer called Ray Collins ( who keeps capturing the ocean, the colors of waves in a most exceptional and spectacular way. His artworks are continuously filled with the admiration for the ocean  and we get to see it in all possible variations, colors, shapes. However, even though ‘the theme’ remains the same, there is no way we could  call the artworks of Collins boring or plain. The artist enthusiasm and passion for the ‘deep waters’ are simply contagious and leave us asking for more.

And how about portraits?  What would be the force that makes the  portrait painter obsessively create images of one, particular person? It is quite obvious that an extra-ordinary portrait there that there is much more than the right technique, selection of colors or right usage of proportions or the play with light and shadow. What  would be the value that distinguishes a mediocre portrait painter from the exceptional is his or her ability ‘to create an atmosphere’, to transfer the personality and the emotions of the sitter into a canvas. And when that happens the viewers  are left speechless, with so many unanswered questions.

George Saurat, Aman Jean (Portrait of Edmond Francois Aman-jean), ca 1882-3, MET.jpg

George Saurat, Aman Jean (Portrait of Edmond Francois Aman-Jean), ca 1882-3, MET


Now – the question is, what could possibly motivate and inspire an artist to dig deeply into his muses soul so the world receives a penetrating and overwhelming masterpiece that once seen – cannot be forgotten?

There is just one kind of power and one answer to this fundamental question. One word that explains it all. It is love.

Some time ago I’ve posted on LinkedIn an artowork called ‘Portrait Of A Woman’ by French symbolist Edmond Aman-Jean from ,  presenting an enigmatic, very beautiful and noble looking lady. The subject matter that this artist usually chose for his work often young women, frequently in profile, arrayed in languid, even melancholy, poses, put him more in line with the Pre-Raphaelite painters than the Impressionists or their followers.


Edmond Francois Aman-Jean ,’Portrait of a Woman’, 1904, Musée d’Orsay

When I saw  this mesmerizing portrait for the first time, it literally ‘stole my heart’. Just few minutes later one of my ‘online connections’ asked me about the identity of the sitter as she was deeply moved by the beauty of this art. Sadly enough, I did not know the answer. But that was soon going to change.

The short ‘online exchange’ encouraged me to make my own research and learn more about the very talented French painter and essential figure of Art Nouveau and Symbolism. It is important to remember that some art historians and art critics recognize Aman-Jean as a successor of the English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in Britain which wasn’t  an exaggerated  conclusion at all once I’ve learned more about the artist paintings.

sweet-summer-1912 Waterhouse John William

John William Waterhouse,’Sweet Summer’, 1910, Private Collection

lamia_jww (1)

John William Waterhouse,’Lamia By The Pond’, 1909, Private Collection

The same  evening, feeling already quite tired after a long and eventful day, there was a strange thought that that crossed my mind. I looked up attentively all the paintings by Aman-Jean available on the Internet and I have found there was one a muse that he painted throughout many years,  with the same passion, and undeniable sympathy and tenderness.

Dolce far niente, 1900

Edmond Francois Aman-Jean , ‘Dolce Far Niente’, 1895, Musée d’Orsay


Edmond Francois Aman-Jean , ‘La Baigneuse’

Young Beauty With Flowers (Miss Ella Camirachel)

Edmond Francois Aman-Jean, ‘Young Beauty With Flowers’

I recognized the very characteristic, full lips, her youthful and fresh complexion and hypnotizing gaze. I was happy to realize that the deduction brought me to few interesting observations. I’ve started my research from  a closer look at ‘Portrait of Miss Ella Carmichael’ from 1906, an artwork initially owned by Jules Maciet,  the cousin of Madame Aman-Jean and famous art collector. Mr Maciet donated this portrait to the City of Paris, shortly after his exhibition at the National Society of Fine Arts in 1907. Nowadays this Aman-Jean’s masterpiece can admired in in  Musée du Petit Palais Petit Palace  in France.

Edmond AMAN-JEAN  Portrait de jeune fille

Edmond Francois Aman-Jean, Portrait of Miss Ella Carmichael,1906, Musée du Petit Palais, Paris

What you can see at a glance, is a young woman setting a vague point in space, taking the pose in front of a wall covered with wallpaper in Art Nouveau style. The presence of a French engraving of the eighteenth century from the Cascade Watteau brings a refined bourgeois and notes in this interior. The dreamy expression of the young lady and the quiet presence of the dog house leave an impression of sweet languor.

You’d probably begin to wonder now, how did a young and a very charming English woman ‘appear’ in the artists house. In truth, Miss Ella Carmichael was linked with the family Aman-Jean by the previously mentioned art collector and most important patron of Edmond Francois, Julec Maciet.  ‘The English Rose’ that shall in the future become a wife of an American officer in India and then, after his death marry the Hungarian prince, came to France in order to study  French language. As a matter of fact she has spent few summertime weeks year after year with the family Aman-Jean at their home in Château-Thierry. Her presence in France was undoubtedly a perfect opportunity to  practice French and  a chance to pose for several excellent paintings. Somehow I knew that there was more to discoverer  about the beautiful lady.

La Confidence, 1903.jpg

Edmond Francois Aman-Jean, ‘La Confidence’, 1903, Private Colletction

Intimacy Edmond-Francois Aman Jean

Edmond Francois Aman-Jean, ‘Intimacy’, 

Before I fell asleep that night I’ve studied Aman-Jeans paintings for a long time. As I woke up  few hours later – I found myself  seated in a rose armchair, holding a book called “Le roman de la rose”. The same moment when I’ve read the title of the book  it became clear to me that I’ve been transferred to France, Château-Thierry, a small village about three miles outside of Paris  and that I am in early 1900’s, posing for Mr Francois Edmond-Jean.

Le Roman De La Rose

Edmond Aman Jean, ‘Le Roman de la Rose’, Private Colletion

What stroke me at first wasn’t really the new situation,the fact that it’s earl y XIX century or the beautiful rose laying down on my lap. What I found particularly intriguing was the book that the artist chose for me to hold while posing for the portrait.

In fact he could have picked up anything from his large library collection – but for some reason he decided that ‘Le Roman de la Rose’(‘Romance of the Rose’)  would be the right choice, a medieval French poem whose  intention was to teach others about the Art of Love. At various times in the book  the “Rose” of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality.


Edmond Aman Jean, Reverir, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dijon

I did not even start with  ‘putting the puzzles together’ in my head, when the artist has suddenly put down his brush and came near me. He was looking at me with the eyes that told me that there is something that needed to be explained. I had no doubt that there must have been something was bothering the artist. Astonishingly enough, before I heard he spelled  out his first words, he took my hand and covered it with his hand in a very soft and gentle way, which I found very flattering:

-‘My dear Ella, my English Flower, how could one possibly stop himself from loving a rose while being continuously faced with its delicacy, vulnerability, intoxicating scent, it’s holiness and overwhelming charm? I shall always treasure in my mind the vision of you holding this book. There will always be you  wearing those pink gowns, you touching the petals of roses, you walking gracefully through my blossoming gardens….’

Miss Ella Carmichaël by Edmond François Aman-Jean

Edmond Francois Aman-Jean, Miss Ella Carmichael, Private Colletcion

The artist seemed to be embarrassed with all he has just said and seemingly lacked the courage to add anything else. There was nothing left to say. He kissed my hand gently and left the room where I’ve been posing for him.

The sweet feeling of Love. It is there or it isn’t. It cannot be faked, the same way it cannot be denied. When I was sitting alone in the silence, left to my thoughts, I  begun to look for empty piece of paper , where I could leave the message for the artist that I respected and admired so much. I needed to write down something that would have a soothing and calming effect to his heart and soul. Instinctively I thought of the poem by Polish Poet and Philosopher, Priest Jan Twardowski. Without thinking much I started to write the stanzas that I’ve known by hart –  ‘The Close And Distant Ones’:

‘Cause you see there are here the ones

who love each other

and they have to meet

in order to pass by

there are others who will find each other

even in the darkness

but they’ll pass by each other

cause they don’t dare to meet each other

they’re so pure and calm

as if it started snowing

they’d be perfect but they’ve lacked of flaws

the close ones are afraid to be close

in order to be no longer

there are also the ones

who love each other forever

and just because of it they can’t be together

like the pheasants which never walk in pairs’


I have signed this poem with my initials and left it inside of the book, hoping that the artist will find it someday,  when he’ll read the book again. There was just one short note, that I still needed to add:

‘ The story of love is not important- what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity

*** Many years later, in the letters written to a friend,  Aman-Jean would mention a lady that he would call ‘a charming creature’ and whose identity he preferred not to reveal.



Edmond Francois Aman-Jean (Edmond Francois Aman Jean) (1860-1935)





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