Last week while meandering through the Barnes Foundation with a friend, I came upon Monet’s Boat Studio.
The Barnes forces viewers through a series of rooms laid out by Albert C. Barnes to show the relationships among paintings in terms of such elements as line, color, use of light and so on, rather than in terms of period or style. The rooms accent the paintings with furnishings and hardware that echo line, shape and color—all very interesting. The “legendary” collection includes over 180 paintings by Renoir. It seemed like half of those were nudes.Who knew he painted that many? Also represented in large numbers were Cezanne and Miro. About the time I didn’t think I could absorb another Renoir with sanity, I turned a corner into a room full of paintings by Rousseau and the occasional Van Gogh. Interspersed are medieval masterpieces, southwestern primitives, American artists and icons. In the middle of this abundance one painting grabbed and held me:
I could meditate and think in that serenity. I could find stories and let them carry me along. I could write. I wonder if the man in the boat is a character who needs his own story?