Gratitude

Gratitude and Art by Jeannine Cook

There was a wonderful quote at the bottom of an art site that I saw recently: "The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude."  The wise man who said this was Friedrich Nietzsche, author and originator of countless bons mots.

It is true.  Think of how you feel as you come out of a wonderful art gallery or museum, where you have feasted your eyes on wonders and stretched your mind in new directions.

When you encounter a portrait or a self portrait of someone who inspires and humbles, it makes one grateful. Take Rembrandt, for example, with his unflinching self-portraits, that tell one of life's experiences, the highs and the lows.  They give one perspective for one's own life.

Self-Portrait,  1669.  Rembrandt van Rijn's last self-portrait (Image courtesy of the National Gallery, London)

Self-Portrait, 1669.  Rembrandt van Rijn's last self-portrait (Image courtesy of the National Gallery, London)

I am always delighted when one feels a connection to past artists, a sense that there is a marvellous heritage to inspire one's own artistic endeavours.  As a silverpoint artist, I love it that Rogier van der Weyden recorded Saint Luke drawing the Virgin in silverpoint.

Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin,  c. 1435–40, Rogier van der Weyden (Image courtesy of  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin, c. 1435–40, Rogier van der Weyden (Image courtesy of  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Think of the way Paul Cézanne can take one to expansive, simplified yet oh so powerful places, thanks to his obsessive staring as he painted his beloved landscapes around Aix-en-Provence. His watercolours of Mont Sainte-Victoire  take one to magical worlds.

Château Noir devant la montagne Sainte-Victoire  1890-1895, Paul Cézanne ,watercolour, and pencil on white paper, (Image courtesy of Albertina, Vienna) 

Château Noir devant la montagne Sainte-Victoire 1890-1895, Paul Cézanne ,watercolour, and pencil on white paper, (Image courtesy of Albertina, Vienna) 

Nietzsche  was right about the gratitude.  He also remarked, "Art is the proper task of life".

Definitely a coherent man in his thoughts about art and artists.

Gratitude by Jeannine Cook

I love it when life decides to underline things. I was busy digesting a thought-provoking and timely article on "Gratitude" in that excellent publication, The Christian Science Monitor (November 21 issue), when I got news that delighted me and made me feel distinctly grateful.

I had found a listing for Art Residencies in Neopoli, South Italy, in one of the bulletins sent out by the Fulton Council Arts Council; it sounded totally alluring. So I applied, outlining ideas for the work I might do during a two-week residency. To my delight, I have been accepted for this Residency at Palazzo Rinaldi.

So when I read in the CSM article on "Gratitude" this quote from Albert Einstein: "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle", I can only echo - Amen.