Born-Died: 1644 - 1717
Creation Date: 1713
Media: Oil on canvas
Location: Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon, USA
When events in the news loom large and a man is stuck in his quiet house, alone, thinking about what has happened and what is to come, if he is anything like me he very often takes this opportunity to seek out works of art. More specifically he seeks a work of art--he doesn’t quite know which one.
He doesn't want just any work. He doesn't care about intellectual games like "spot the obscure reference." Nor is he drawn to works because they broke all the rules or even because they obeyed all the rules. He has no interest in works that are intended to impress others or to make him feel stupid or confused. And while he might find history fascinating at other times, today he is not interested in the people and events of history per se.
All this would be a distraction from what is really important and he wants to face what is important. He wants to see his feelings and the principles that he is at home thinking about out there in the world. He wants to see those principles hold their ground amidst their opposition--to test them against the things that test such things. If justice has been served, he wants to see that justice is worthwhile and that all the pain and effort, which were very real, came to something equally real. He wants to see that life is good and that happiness is possible and that his principles have come out on top despite it all.
Regardless of whether the news is good or bad, or if the man is happy or sad, if a work of art has nothing to say about what really matters in life it is not worth anyone’s time as a work of art.