I remember being little and my mom coming into my classroom once a month as part of a program called “Get Smart with Art.” She would bring a painting and then ask us kids about it, volunteering her time. I was always excited to see her and it felt special to have her there. One of the earliest paintings she brought, and the one that always stuck out to me, was Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night.
Because of the special circumstances, I remember the very first moment I saw that painting (a reproduction, of course). Now, it’s everywhere–on posters and in bookstores and in dorm rooms–but because I saw it the way I did, I was awed. It was not just another painting but something truly spectacular, even if I was in first grade.
So when the Art Institute of Chicago had a special Van Gogh exhibit, I really wanted to go with my mom because he has always been special to the two of us. This one happened to be on his bedroom series. He painted his bedroom three times: one lives in Chicago, the other in Amsterdam, and the other in France. This exhibit united all three and Van Gogh’s constant yearning and search for a sense of home. The timing of the theme of the exhibit was particularly poignant to both of us at this point in our lives.
While we were there, we saw some of the Institute’s other gems. Everyone talks about Monet and so I sometimes forget that he really is that awesome. I was awed not just by his lilies but his dreamy cityscapes of Paris. They may have been my favorite of the day. Of course, I love Degas as well because my mom has been a dancer her whole life, and like Van Gogh, we always had a connection to his work because of it.
My mom is the person in my family who I can not only sit on the couch and watch The Mindy Project with but also go to museums. We like learning new things. We like museums. This was a sweet story to add to our collection of art memories together–particularly in Chicago.
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