Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted June 23, 2012

This work has reached the exceptional level
defining art on my terms

Art: An Expression of Self

by Spiritual Echo

Art Contest Winner 
With a splash of colour across a blank canvas or a simple chord on a guitar, something outside of our known careless breath catches fire, ignites, and occasionally changes the way we look at the world.

The idea might be a casual twist of an artist's hand, but then again, it might be an inspiration from the gods; whispers of encouragement, celestial prayers.

It may seem sacrilegious to think about divine spirits sending requests or hopes to mortals, but perhaps we are the facilitators of eternal dreams that remain long after we are gone.

Walking through the cathedral in Saint Marco Square in Venice, I lit candles for those I loved and those who left me behind. I walked across the marble, thinned by a million footsteps, and stumbled upon a baptism taking place in one of the chapels. Standing by the door, I listened to prayers, and watched a child being blessed, being welcomed into the church of Christ, and then I looked up. I began to weep.

I knew with absolute certainty that the artist who laboured below the ceiling, lying on his back, painting the cathedral five-hundred years ago, would never have known that millions of people would appreciate his ability to translate faith into visual Godliness. I glanced back at the child, and sent a silent prayer of appreciation for that moment that moved me.

I walked back out into the dazzling sun-drenched day. I watched the merchants stocking their carts with vibrant silks, hand-blown Rialto vases and ornate painted masks. The church bells began to ring, echoing across the courtyard as gondoliers poled down The Grand Canal, singing opera to their delighted passengers. I was surrounded by art.

The Venetian may walk by, so anaesthetized by familiarity, that his appreciation may lean towards the abstract, but it made me pause and ask myself; what is art?

Without breaking stride, the answer became clear. While none of us can define taste, music preferences, poetry versus prose, anything that opens up our senses and stirs an emotion is art. It is that which we touch, taste, smell, see and hear that transforms us in the moment.

Days later, as my flight took off, and Italy dropped away from my view, I still had the images in my head; the frescoes and the perfect child, the blank canvas that was my tomorrow, waiting for inspiration.

There was something incredibly sad about leaving Europe, a continent both steeped in, and appreciative of culture, to return to North America, to views of skyscrapers and grey concrete, until a celestial whisper nudged me awake prior to landing.

I was the artist. I had the ability to transform my world. I could live in beauty; make small gestures, experiences and moments into works of art.

Writing Challenge
500 words or less describe art in your own terms.

Contest Winner


Thanks to Snowpaw for her picture of the entrance to the cathedral in St. Marco Square.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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