Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reproductions

The Starry Night - Vincent Van Gogh

Last weekend, I went to the Masterpieces of Paris exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. I think I was only going there for the buzz of having seen these paintings ‘in the flesh’. I certainly didn’t expect to see anything new. Many of the paintings, I had already seen. Well, I hadn’t seen the real paintings, but I had seen reproductions – on posters, calendars, mugs, umbrellas and paint by numbers kits. I knew what they looked like. Or at least, I thought I did.

I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to learn that the real paintings did not look like the reproductions. Well they did. But they didn’t. They were more vivid, more textured, more real. I was seeing the same images I had seen dozens of times, but in a way I had never seen them before.

One painting that I particularly enjoyed was The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. I had seen this painting – or least reproductions of this paintings – many, many times. And I had never been that impressed with it. But when I saw the real thing, I finally understand what the big deal about it was. I loved that painting. And I decided, as I was standing in front of it, that I would buy a bookmark or poster or something of it when I left the art exhibition. But when I got to the gift store and looked at the reproductions, I realised I would not be buying anything. The reproductions just didn’t do it justice. Even now, in looking at the image on the internet, I am thinking why exactly did I like it so much? Because I really can’t see anything that amazing about it.

After I looked at the Masterpieces of Paris exhibition, we looked at the other exhibitions in the National Gallery. One painting I always like to have a good look at is Bourke Street by Tom Roberts. I love that painting. I have a picture of it in my lounge room. But the reproduction I have up in my house looks so different to the original. My reproduction is faded and bits are torn and it’s really gives no idea of what the original is like. I still love it, because I love the picture. But it’s not the real thing.

It’s the same with music. Anybody who has ever gone to a concert knows that listening to a CD is not the same as hearing the same music live. It may sound exactly the same. But yet it is different. A real life experience is so much more intense than listening to a copy. I have a friend who can’t stand opera. I once played him a piece of music that I thought was beautiful and he thought it was boring. (Some people have no taste.) But once, his mother wanted to go and see Pavarotti in concert. So he took her. And he says that he will never forget that experience. He didn’t even like Pavarotti. But hearing him live was something very special.

In Colossians 2:17, Paul speaks of ‘the shadow of things to come’. It’s a bit of a hard phrase to understand and I certainly can’t claim to know exactly what Paul meant. But when I was thinking of the art exhibition, this phrase immediately came to mind.

I think that this earth and the Church we have here on earth (in all its forms) are just reproductions. Some of them may be good reproductions. Some of them are quite bad reproductions, a bit like my picture of Bourke Street in my lounge room. But they’re still reproductions. They can only show us what the heavenly Church looks like. But they still fall short of the reality of that Church. And if we actually saw the original, we would be amazed and astounded at how beautiful it really is.



Bourke Street by Tom Roberts







Art Prints Etc

5 comments:

  1. I found this post far too high-brow for me. (I'm joking).

    ReplyDelete
  2. That sounds like a good excuse to do another post on Bon Jovi songs.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alisha

    http://sketchingdrawing.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Alisha. It's actually really nice to get a comment that says nothing more than you've been reading my blog and enjoying it. Feel free to leave comments like that any time.

    Liz

    ReplyDelete
  5. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alisha

    http://sketchingdrawing.com

    ReplyDelete

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