The Secret Impressionist Exhibit

Ever since I was little, I remember my mom in the kitchen with paint on her jeans and a paintbrush behind her ear. She loves to paint any and everything. She’d paint my jeans (making me the cutest 3rdgrader in school), she paints canvases, watercolors, Christmas ornaments, etc. You name it, my mother has painted it and its around ourhouse somewhere. This love of art passed down to me and I’ve been painting and admiring art ever since I could hold a paint brush. I’ve always been drawn to oil painting and the impressionist movement. Impressionist and neoimpressionist paintings are the only paintings that can stop me in my tracks and pull me closer. The waves seem to crash, the leaves seem to rustle in the breeze, one can almost smell the flowers and the people seem alive. While living in Rome, I got the chance to go to the Secret Impressionist Exhibit in the Bonaparte Palace. The artworks exposed come from private collections, rarely accessible and granted exceptionally for this event for the first time in Italy. Inside the magnificent halls where the mother of Napoleone Bonaparte lived, more than fifty masterpieces of many famous artists like Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Signac, Pissarro are exhibited. I was so excited to see the works from Monet and Renoir, but the piece that truly took my breath away was Henri-Edmond Cross’ Landscape With Goats. It was unbelievable. The colors were so vibrant the paint could have still been wet. The way Cross played with the foreground and background though light and dark tones of the paint were genius. In most paintings the background is darker,and the foregroundis lighterbut in the Landscape With Goats the opposite is true. In his landscape, the Mediterranean sun is pouring into the painting, almost making the painting itself emit light. The goats lounging in the shade seem to come alive and their relief from the hot sun is palpable. His brushstrokes were also different from most impressionist paintings, being larger, irregularly shaped asymmetrical and overlaid with different tones and colors. This made each stroke not exclusively pure but a result of multiple mixtures, adding to the vibrance and glow of the painting. The painting made me stop in my tracks, sitdown, and return after seeing the whole exhibit. The little girl painting in the kitchen with her mom wanted to take the colors home with her.

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