"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

29 August 2012

Happy birthday, Ingres.

Ingres, Grand Odalisque, 1814

Jean-August Dominique Ingres was born on this date in 1780.

21 years ago, in the spring of 1992, my European Art professor, Dr. Matthew Herban, captured my imagination by giving one of the best lectures I've ever heard on the importance of detail, technique, and passion in one's life. I used to sit in that giant, darkened auditorium of The Wexner Center with my Walkman playing Mozart at a barely-audible level and be transformed by beauty and wisdom. I had many goose bump moments in his classes.

One day he told us of a small cafe in Paris which was a hangout of a local prostitute who knew how to jimmy the lock on a courtyard gate behind the Saint-Chapelle. This was important, he said, not only because the statuary in the courtyard was inaccessible to the general public, but also because this breath-taking woman was fond of plying of her trade in the courtyard and you never knew the surprises that would await you there. "Many art forms are visible in the courtyard of the Saint-Chapelle," he would giggle.

Thank you, Ingres. Thank you, Dr. Herban. Thank you, Le Grand Odalisque.

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