The Art Gallery of NSW opened an exhibition last weekend called The Greats, Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland.
Along with the Gallery's wider collection, Rembrandt, Monet, Constable, Gainsborough, and my personal favourites Botticelli, Leighton, and Gauguin, it offered a marvellous afternoon of enjoyment, interpretation, and meaning, accompanying each of the pieces in the quietude of appreciation.
Art speaks in many languages. Languages of perception, symbolism, connection, and experiences.
And art touches each person individually in their reaction, and interpretation, at a particular moment. And that connection can change, depending on experiences, thoughts and emotions.
Each art piece is a life of detail and perspective in it's own emergence, totality and story.
Just like you and me. Each an art piece of evolving meaning.
And there are many, many layers of meaning.
Just like for you and me.
One of the stunning pieces in the collection is Botticelli's The Virgin adoring the sleeping Christ child.
My experience of it was holistic, and influenced by my training in psychotherapy, spirituality, and art as symbolism in context of the whole piece. To me it reflected motherhood, peace and abundance. In contrast, the narrator on the audio focussed on the Christ child, a more detailed element of the piece, and an impending death theme. Forming a completely different art of meaning. Likewise our interpretations on the position in which the Christ child was sleeping was of a different perspective.
The art of meaning can be affected by many influences, and preferences in the context of time, detail, knowledge, history, memory, contemporary reality, and mastery.
Observing an art piece is like observing life at a point in time. It offers a snapshot. And a meaning as you relate to it.
And art, like life, reveals an evolving mystery. Of detail, and larger landscape, as it touches and inspires you personally, in heart, mind, and body.
Opening the heart, mind, and body into an expanding sensory can connect you to a side of yourself that forms a part of that mystery as it is unfolding.
That is why many wisdom traditions incorporate art and symbolism so frequently. To provide connection to a deeper landscape, an inner-knowing, access to universal archetypes, identity and mastery.
Observing the detail as well as the landscape, can connect you to parts of yourself that have been latent, and can offer rich and vibrant connection. Revealing attitudes, beliefs, inspirations and meanings peculiar to your reality.
And knowing when to look at the wider landscape of your life, and when to dive more deeply into the detail of your behaviours and identity, can also be a progressively important artistic process in your life.
Understanding your changing dynamic unfolding as a wider mystery, can be both fascinating, and enlightening, as a way of acknowledging you and your life as a masterpiece.
And building a sense of self appreciation, robustness and belonging to a process that is both a part of you, and a mystery bigger than you is the wonder of creation. And an area always available for review.
Enjoy the art of meaning that is you. And the masterpiece of greatness that it brings into your world view.
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