I was not very interested in art and I took it for granted for a very long until I found myself in the Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy. There I fell in love with Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. I had never been so close to real art before and it was hard to resist its magnetism. I have never forgotten how my mind raced and how I felt looking at a beautiful piece of art. What was more is that the this wasn’t the on,y paining that evoked this kind of feeling in me. I walked around the gallery looking at paintings and sketches of artists I have never heard of, amazed at what human beings are capable of creating.
There were two particular lessons I discovered in Florence.
One was that in order to create a beautiful piece of art, things have to come into focus. There was this one painting in particular that seemed not to belong. It was blurry. An unorganized mess of this colour and that. In short, it was a collection of paint ‘stuff’, slapped quickly together on a canvas, and admired by a great many number of people for some reason. I had no idea why. I assumed it must have been some sort of national pride, which every nation is guilty of, and I moved on. But a little while longer, when I was leaving the room, I turned around and my eyes caught the attention of a magnificent painting. I didn’t know where it suddenly sprung from but in time I realized that it was the very paining I assumed didn’t belong amongst the other masterpieces. It seems that there was nothing wrong with the paining, there was something wrong with my proximity to its eternal beauty. The artist wished to crate some space and mystery distance and he sure did. Simply amazing.
It’s amazing how someone can create a stunning piece of work and dictate at what distance it will come into focus. That’s the first lesson I took from Uffizi. Focus and proximity to our dreams are important. Not only is it important to know exactly what we want and who we are but we need to stand at the right distance and be in the right place to realize our full potential as he magnificent creatures we are. So, if things are not going according to plan for you, it makes sense to focus a lot more attention on the plan itself and to try a different way of seeing in order to gain a different perspective.
The brush strokes. Florence was he first time I was able to see a painting up close. I could walk right up to a masterpiece and see the texture and depth of every brushstroke. I felt like the artist was still alive. Like they left their heartbeat in their work and right then and there it spoke to me. You can’t see the brush strokes in a collectable postcard the painting. You can’t see it in a art book. You can only see it with your eyes, standing intimately close to the paining.
You need the same type of intimacy in your own life. You need to focus on the myriad of details you have to get through each and every day. We all dream big and imagine what heights we can reach, but the only way to get there is one single brush stroke at a time. We have to layer one detail and one decision upon another. It’s the only way. Brush strokes matter. There is no success without focusing on the seemingly insignificant.
I miss the Uffizi but I remember the lessons I was able to take from there. My dream is to one day to return and have those old masters teach me some thing else about the beauty of being alive.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Steve Johnson | https://unsplash.com/@steve_j