Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Favorite Painting in Cincinnati

Earlier this year, I visited the Cincinnati Art Museum for the first time in my life. And I fell in love. With this:

The Midnight Mass by Edward Timothy Hurley
The Midnight Mass by Edward Timothy Hurley

Much more impressive in person, this painting struck me. Done all in deep blues with white highlights, a town in silence, covered in snow. That night quiet, every echo and word and scream muffled by the coating of Winter, I felt peace. And quiet. And sadness. Sadness because the only color aside from the blue/white wash was that church window. The only warmth was the parish.

And I didn't want to be there.

I identified myself with the observer, because - obviously - someone had to paint it. Late, alone, in the cold, and outside. I am that guy. Not because I don't like gatherings or don't like church (not that I do), but because I know inherently that I am not one of those people, in the cold, gathered in the church, at midnight. There is much more important work to do.

I just hope Hurley had a friend or two to drink a late glass of wine with while painting this.


A friend to see it afterwords. The painting was created alone. Quietly. With aid of a heavy coat and the padding of snow.

This is not the Grinch hearing the song of the Whos, but reality: no malice, no anger, but a somber realization that sometimes, just sometimes, it's okay to be alone, to be quiet, and to enjoy it.

Love it.

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