Thursday, May 23, 2013

Craft And Time.

Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York the other day, I found myself thinking how interesting it is that, for every work of art, all sorts of information is provided - its style, its epoch, its technique, etcetera, all but the time it took for the artist to complete said work of art.

Everything else is talked about - the stone a sculpture was chiselled from, the oils used on the canvas, its realism, its surrealism, its expressionism, its impressionism, even anecdotes about the artists' lives - all but how long it took for him to create what is now before our eyes.

Maybe our appreciation would be different if we knew this. For example, knowing it took a sculptor a whole year to shape a given statue, and this only after completing two models in a smaller scale, perhaps we would take a moment longer to appreciate the statue instead of just glimpsing at it while passing by.

Think on all those weeks and months spent dedicated to this one piece, while maybe completing others, while probably dealing with mundane problems, like a mean neighbour, while most certainly paying rent and most likely being hurried to complete the work even as he hastened in order to collect the commission in order to pay some of his way out of debt.

Who knows? And it's not only the time it took to create that given piece, but also the time it took for the artist to hone the skills which allowed him to create such a craft - a lifetime of craftsmanship.

There is something very human about this aspect of every work of art, an aspect which takes the artist down from atop a glorified pedestal to let him stand amongst us as one of us. Appreciating the artist as a person makes his achievements all the more awesome.

The next time you go to a museum, think on this, and maybe take a moment longer to appreciate something which took a long, long time to create.