I went to the Bergen art museum today for the first time. Who would have known it would be so interesting?
Of course, I should not be so surprised, because I have been studying art history for a year now. I started just after last Christmas; it’s a course on the Internet, run by the University in Bergen. The whole course takes two years – four semesters with one exam after each, and when you’re done, you have by definition completed a one year full-time study of art history at the University. I love this stuff. People think it is so boring, but that is just because people in general are misguided. Art history is not just the history of art, it is also the history of thought, the history of legends and stories, the history of war, the history of media, of propaganda, of psychology, of religion, and most of all, the history of man, told in pictures, paintings, sculptures, and any other kind of object that you might want to define as art. It is the history of the creativity and fantasy of man, both good, and evil.
So why was I so surprised when I entered the art museum? I guess I was just taken a bit by surprise, both at the size of it, and by the number of works by great masters that are there. Picasso, Rouault, Miro, Munch, Mondrian, Léger, Kleè and Kadinsky. They were all there, all the great masters of modern art, right there on the white walls a few inches from my face. I could see the lines, the curves, the works touched and created by the hands of Picasso.
All of these great works, spread evenly across white walls of plaster, bathed in a strong yet natural-seeming light. I guess that is the key. The rooms and the lighting. It was as if I had entered some kind of magic space, where time had stopped and stood quite still. A space, like a separate dimension, apart from all the rest of the world, where absolutely nothing exists except you and those famous works of art. Yet magic is not the correct word, for there is no tingling sound, or magic words, no flashes or exciting music like in the movies. No Harry Potter here – just the plain simple wonderful peace and quiet. Perfect for tying a bond between your soul and that of the artist. For that is how I felt. As I stared in awe at “Sylvette”, I could almost feel Pablo M. Picasso stare back at me, the way you can feel a person smiling at you when you read a personal letter he or she has written to you.
And it completely blew me away. I will return some day soon.